Getting up before dawn wasnâ€™t always easy for Mitch Sickinger. Thanks to the permeating smell of coffee filling his booth, he has come to appreciate early mornings as he awaits his first customer of the day.
â€œI get to see some beautiful sunrises when I get here,â€ Mitch smiled. At 4:30 am, the alarm sounds and he gets prepared to head over to Coffee Stop to make sure he’s stocked and ready to serve his first cup of java.
Sipping his cup of black coffee, he knows he’s ready for his first order, whatever it may be. â€œSometimes we will get customers â€” usually from back east â€” that have certain names for drinks I might not have heard before,â€ he added. But over the past 12 years, he has just about heard it all, so thereâ€™s not much he canâ€™t handle.
â€œPretty much anything you can get at Starbucks you can get here,â€ he continued, â€œWe can do Frappuccinos, lattes and a lot of the specialty drinks.â€ Because he’s paid his dues as Co-owner to earn the title of head barista at the Coffee Stop.
“My wife Toni and I have had this palace since 1995,â€ said Mitch. That was the year he started thinking about leaving his corporate job. â€œAt the time, I worked at Pep Products â€” an energy pill company â€” and wanted to get out of what I was doing,â€ he said.
Seeking new opportunities, his wife Toni happened to hear that the coffee place by her work was on the market. Having no experience, Mitch decided to take a chance.
â€œAnd the owners Diana and Jeff we’re great. They stuck around for a week or so to teach me how to use everything,â€ he laughed. â€œIn the beginning, I was splattering foam all over the place and burning myself all of the time.â€
Despite the painful learning curve, Mitch was happy to trade his job with corporate America for his nickname. Known as the â€˜coffee man,â€™ many of his regular customers have become friends.
“I love that I get to talk to a lot of people, hear stories their stories and give them advice if they need it,” he added. â€œAnd some customers I’ve had for years â€” pretty much since weâ€™ve been open,â€
Because those relationships are what sustain the Coffee Stop, especially during slower months. “During the summer we drop off about 40 percent because a lot of our clients are parents that are dropping off their kids at school,â€ he said. “When they kids aren’t in school, we don’t see them as much.”
He makes up the loss by filling picking up shifts at a local retailer. â€œWhen business drops off, I work just down the road for Tuesday Morning.â€ They also rely on revenue from Images; the small beauty salon his wife Toni operates.
But itâ€™s work heâ€™s happy to do so he doesn’t disappoint his friends, eager for coffee and chat at the Coffee Stop. â€œIt has been dropping off a little more every year because there are so many coffee places now,â€ Mitch said. â€œBut we will be here as long as people keep coming to support small guys like us.”
The Coffee Stop
407 S Wilcox Street
Castle Rock, CO 80104
**Drive up service available**
Mon-Fri: 6 am – 1 pm
Saturday: 7 am to 11 am