Park Avenue Coffee, The Story…

by Dale Allen Schotte

Most people in the coffee industry did not grow up saying, “When I grow up, I want to be in the coffee business.” My story is no different.

In February 2004, I was a computer network engineer and had been for 20 years. A dear friend decided to open a coffee shop in Lafayette Square, called Perk on the Park. She asked if I could help her find and install a Point of Sale system and to install wireless internet. I loved coffee; I had three different types of coffee makers as well as an espresso machine at home. I was always trying different coffees from regions around the world and thought it would be fun, so of course I agreed to help.

I helped with the Point of Sale system and the wireless internet, but my involvement did not stop there. I ended up helping her with her menu, pricing and I even helped pick out paint colors. I was hooked. I fell in love with the shop, the concept, and the idea of owning a coffee shop. I even told her that if she ever decided to sell the shop, to let me know.

Fast-forward 2 years. I got a phone call from her and learned that she was expecting a baby, her husband was going back to school full time and she wanted to sell the shop. I was still in the computer business and I was very interested, but I had a lot of thinking to do. Did I really want to give up a 22-year career?

I convinced my sister, Marilyn Scull, who had been with a major pizza chain for 20 years, to help me with this endeavor. With her food service knowledge, and my passion for people and coffee, we opened Park Avenue Coffee on August 1st, 2006.

We started with two simple principles – good people serving good coffee. We quickly realized that a family favorite – our mother’s traditional gooey butter cake – would be a good addition to that mix. “Mom’s Traditional” quickly became over 70 flavors of gooey butter cake (and counting). With numerous “best of” accolades and local press, the news traveled fast. We now ship our gooey butter cakes to all 50 states and around the world.
We quickly outgrew the baking capacity of the coffee shop and we launched Ann & Allen Baking Company in 2009. The name comes from our middle names, Ann is Marilyn’s and Allen is mine.

In December of 2010, we were featured on Food Network’s® “Food Feuds”, winning “Best Gooey Butter Cake”.

We opened our second Park Avenue Coffee location in March 2011 in Downtown St. Louis and so the story continues.

I hope you enjoyed our story as much as we have enjoyed living it the last six and a half years. I want to thank all of our wonderful customers and amazing employees for making our story possible.

Dale Allen Schotte is the owner of Park Avenue Coffee. For more information please visit www.ParkAvenueCoffee.com,

www.AnnAndAllen.com, facebook.com/AnnAndAllen,
Twitter @AnnAndAll