Welcome to the Flying M Coffee Garage!
Driving up to the Coffee Garage in a reawakening downtown Nampa the garage’s Flying M sign gently captures your attention with the trees as a beautiful backdrop. The busy parking lot with bays pulling up to the garage doors with customers visiting in and around the cars, is reminiscent of a old time diner; and with the smell of roasting coffee hanging in the air as you walk to doors is a perfect invitation to something very unique.
Entering the coffee garage is a mind blowing experience of engineering marvel woven with a delight of great gifts, the purple coffee roaster, a stage for live music, a graffiti band wall, a second story seating along a cat walk, bright color, and the coffee bar with friendly baristas. There are enough seats to give many of Nampa’s travellers rest with a great espresso, and enough power outlets for all of Nampa’s laptops, cell phones, and tablet-pads.
When asked about how and why the Flying M came to be the namesake of the business Kevin shared with a gentle laugh, “It was my dad’s cattle brand from the ranch in Yakima Valley.”
When owners Lisa and Kevin Myers invited me to table and offered me a cup of their Honduran blend it was like sitting with old friends. Their conversation was quiet, gentle, meaningful, and humble. Kevin and Lisa’s thoughts about their history of leading from the middle of Boise’s and Nampa’s urban renewal since 1992 were unassuming. They both agree in unison about urban renewal, “It’s partly nostalgia, and we like to walk or bike between stores.” Kevin’s passion for music and roasting are discovered in the coffee he produces and the great live music he supports. Lisa’s vision for art meeting community, and finding the cool products their customers have come to enjoy is celebrated in her smile and the way customers linger and purchase. Their deep connection with the places and communities they serve have created a business model around attending to and assisting employees and customers. Lisa said, “We get a lot of neighborhood families who have a real sense of loyalty to us.” Kevin said nodding his head, “Even when we moved to this location people came from the first store in Boise to connect.” Lisa continued listening to Kevin with a smile of appreciation, “We want everyone who is part of Flying M to be recognized and understood.” The independent coffee customer is a small community and they have managed to develop long-term friendships and their faces beam with gratitude.
Kevin shared about the joy of being an independent coffee owner, “You get the feel for the entire experience and all facets of the business and it also allows for creative freedom.” When asked about the importance of servicing a quality product Lisa acknowledges their coffee experience, “It’s got to be an A,” and Kevin responded with clarity, “A+.” They both smiled to each other with that trusted long term marriage smile encouraging their dreams.
Roasting over one thousand pounds a week of their Espresso blend: a full-bodied, medium roasted blend rich with crema; and House Blend, consisting of a French roast paired with a medium roast Indonesian, and a lot of single blends takes Lisa shared with a deep breath about her husband’s talents, “It takes a lot of attention to detail and curiosity.” Using an older model Diedrich roaster they also have to use their senses each day because Flying M roasting is an art and does not rely on any computers. Thinking out loud Kevin shared, “One day it might be nice be able to pay greater attention to detailing a few things with a computer.”
After hearing Lisa and Kevin’s journey there is a distinct joyful purpose of Flying M happily competing with the corporate big box coffee retailer numbing an already dull coffee palette of many consumers. About the new ways independent coffee roasters and entrepreneurs are creating new experiences for a growing number of consumers whose palette is becoming refined Kevin said about this important transformation, “The next phase in coffee shops is education. It would be great to set up cuppings and tastings at the roaster and help other develop an understanding of their own coffee palette,” especially for those who would enjoy a great interactive experience.
Dr. Tom Lobaugh