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Hidden Gems: Meet Annie and Scott Kendall of High Tide Coffee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Annie and Scott Kendall. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Prior to starting High Tide Coffee, Annie had ten years of experience running coffee shops, while Scott had the same in marketing and events. While putting on a surf contest at Trestles in San Clemente, Scott needed a coffee vendor for athletes, staff, and visitors. Seeing the opportunity to create something special, Annie, who was his girlfriend at the time, invested in the equipment and started her own coffee company!

Both continued working in their normal careers while running High Tide on the side. Regular appearances at events, farmer’s markets, vintage and antique markets, along with private events and weddings, created a groundswell of interest and turned a fun side hustle into something with potential!

Fast forward to 2018 when they quit their day jobs and jumped in feet first by opening a coffee cart at Epic Yoga in the North Beach neighborhood of San Clemente, their first brick and mortar space. Six months later, they moved 400 feet down the street into their current location at 1624 N El Camino Real, and they haven’t looked back!

Engaged and entrenched into the community, they’ve established themselves as the go-to morning routine for North Beach residents.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
We are so fortunate to be located in an amazing, open-arms community that has welcomed us and ridden with us down this crazy road. The pandemic challenged us in ways that we would never have expected. Even when we made the move to operate out of our front window due to Covid-19 restrictions, our regulars came to visit every day with big smiles, kind words, and good conversations. We did everything in our power to make them feel safe, and they kept coming to keep their favorite local business running.

The past year has been a great opportunity to look at ourselves and the way we see others, treat others, and react toward others. Fortunately, our goal remains unchanged since day one; welcome every customer into our family, have each visit feel like they are having a cup of coffee with us, not from us.

We’ve been impressed with High Tide Coffee, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We are most proud of the fact that we are a family business that was started by and is still owned and operated strictly by us. You will regularly see us ringing up a customer with our one-year-old in hand or see our four-year-old outside greeting the regulars. We love enjoying a family day date on the patio outside. The two owners, Annie and Scott, wear many hats and still operate every piece of the business, from store operations and drink recipes, to design and social media to website development and accounting.

As a business, we care deeply about two things: good, fresh coffee and good vibes. We spend every moment of every day inside that shop trying to make those two things happen, and we invite anyone and everyone to come be a part of it, one cup at a time. We even put it on a tee-shirt that says, “High Tide Good Vibes.”

Although our coffee has always been roasted fresh weekly, in the last year, we’ve begun roasting small-batch coffee beans right in our tiny San Clemente shop. If you show up on the right day, you can pick up a bag of beans that was roasted that same morning! Our roaster program has grown to the point where we now offer a subscription program, bulk bean orders, and wholesale to other cafes and restaurants. We have a rotating seasonal menu that changes regularly; Winter drinks, Spring drinks, Easter drinks, Mother’s Day drinks, Star Wars drinks, we’ve done them all. One of the most fun we have as a staff is brainstorming, creating and tasting our upcoming specialties.

Annie is an educated and trained graphic designer with a keen eye for detail and aesthetics. Working her way through college led her to ten years in coffee shops with a sought-after management style and knack for efficiency. As our primary designer, she has created every High Tide Coffee logo and merchandise piece. Ever the student, she is now a self-made content whiz who operates our content development program and Instagram account.

Scott has 12 years of experience with a brand, product, and sports marketing, along with project and business management. His passion for coffee came later when he used to visit his girlfriend Annie at work. That love has grown quickly, to the point of constantly testing (read: drinking) espresso shots at the shop and even taken over roasting duties for the business.

Are there any books, apps, podcasts, or blogs that help you do your best?
Similar to the way we run our shop, we operate our business through relationships and conversations. We have learned a great deal through past employers, co-workers, colleagues, customers, friends, and our local business community.

With everything we learn, we try to pass on knowledge. Whether it be offering guidance in the professional lives of our employees or sharing the learning experiences we’ve had with other small businesses, there is always something to share.

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