Guest Writer

Northern Pacific Coffee Company is back and better than ever. The coffee shop on Garfield Street re-opened Jan. 18 under the new management of Wes Johnson.

Johnson, a Tacoma native, briefly worked under the old NPCC management, and before that was working in the coffee industry for eight years. He says he’s passionate about pouring espresso and cannot wait to share that love with the Parkland mug

“I am excited to make the menu more informative and friendly to people who aren’t used to coffee as an art,” Johnson said. “Many see it as only a ‘to-go’ thing, when it is so much more.”

Established in 1994, NPCC has always been a part of the Parkland community. However, a combination of slow business and poor management caused the coffee shop to flounder and almost close for good, Johnson said.

However, fellow coffee lover and owner of the Parkland Community Health Center, Sarah Scofield, stepped in and bought the business. She appointed Johnson as manager, and made sure all the employees kept their jobs. Then, their team went to work, replacing the floors, countertops, re-painting and removing the general “clutter.” The renovations took about three months and customers seem to notice.

“The reaction has been great,” Johnson said. “Day one people were coming in here and saying, ‘Wow, this place actually smells good.’ and I’m like, ‘Yes, we have done our job.’”

In addition to the renovations, Scofield and Johnson hired former employee and local artist Lauren Russell to create new art for the shop. She hand drew the new menu and the three large chalkboards throughout NPCC.

“I wanted to create something that made people feel at home,” Russell said. “There is a quote at the bottom that says, ‘you are in place’, and that is the whole idea of NPCC.”

While the spirit of NPCC remains the same, Johnson made some changes to improve it for the sake of the community. Now, the NPCC opens at 6:00 am, so the early birds can get their cup of coffee before the sun comes up.

Photo courtesy of Sky & Ty Acord
Photo courtesy of Sky & Ty Acord

Johnson plans to continue Open Mic Night every Wednesday at 8:00 pm, but also has some new events in mind. He hopes to buy a projector to host movie nights, watch games, and even have everyone come veg out on some Saturday morning cartoons.

Since the re-opening, NPCC has been packed with Parkland regulars, students, and new faces. People are happy to have a place to relax again and enjoy a good cup of coffee with others.

“I’ve lived in Tacoma my whole life,” Johnson said. “And places always seem to come and go, but the keepers, they become fixtures in the community; NPCC is sort of a community living room.”

“I need it,” Russell said. “And I know the people need it.”

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