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Full steam ahead for new coffee shop

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Sherry and Joey Castilleja opened their new coffee shop, Suntown Coffee Company, on South First Street in Sunnyside last week.

After completing a performance study on the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce's effectiveness in Sunnyside, Joey Castilleja and his wife Sherry decided to make their long-time entrepreneurial dream come true.

Opening a coffee shop is something the two have toyed around with for a while.

"...but after doing the study with the chamber, we decided to open (the coffee shop) in Sunnyside," Castilleja said.

Perfect for the job

Castilleja says his wife is the perfect fit for this job. She's a massage therapist who loves her career, because receiving a massage is usually the best part of someone's day, according to Castilleja.

That's how a coffee shop experience should be, too, he noted.

"We both agreed, we always enjoy our coffee," Castilleja added.

But getting the shop ready for opening day wasn't merely a dual effort.

"Our six-year-old daughter actually picked out the chairs," he added. "She was really excited about it."

Searching the globe

After making the decision to dabble in the coffee business, the two began searching high and low for the very best coffee.

"It's much more than a cup of coffee for us," Castilleja said. "It's an opportunity to educate people about the coffee that comes from all over the world."

After going to several coffee tastings all over the Northwest, the two decided they loved the Stumptown coffee roasters.

"We drank a lot of black coffee, people thought we were crazy to drink hot coffee in the summer," Castilleja added.

Stumptown, based in Portland, has a shop in Seattle where the Castillejas fell in love with the roast.

"They roast to order," Mrs. Castilleja said.

It's the freshest coffee the two could possibly find.

"They take extreme care and (maintain) quality control with their roast," she added.

They were sold. Stumptown was the coffee for them.

"Hands down, it's the best coffee," Mr. Castilleja said.

Doing the 'robot'

Adding to the fresh coffee served at Suntown Coffee Company will soon be some of the freshest donuts in town.

The Castillejas have plans to employ a robot. A donut robot, that is.

They say the machine can produce up to 200 dozen donuts each hour. So, in addition to offering the fresh donuts inside the shop, they will also offer the donuts at wholesale for local businesses that want to add the fresh-made donuts to their menus.

The road ahead

Right now, the shop located at 1829 S. First St. is open seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"Those are summer hours, we are likely to be open later for fall and winter," Castilleja said.

The coffee experience at Suntown will also include free Wi-Fi, comfy chairs, cable television and board games.

Castilleja says data he's researched on Sunnyside's business traffic is good, and the two are optimistic about this new business venture.

"I'm excited to see it take off," Mrs. Castilleja said.

Castilleja says he can't wait to see who the regular customers are.

Since their opening date, last Thursday, Mr. Castilleja says he joked about weighing himself on opening day; then going back to the scale in a year, after all the coffee and donuts have settled.

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