Twenty years ago, Stephanie Papke had an idea that would jump-start her family’s future.
She decided to start her own coffee stand. And officially on Dec. 1, 1998, the first Jump Start Espresso opened its doors.
Since then, the locally-owned coffee shop has been thriving, which both owners and twin sisters Steph and Mykel Papke agree is because of the love and care they put into both their coffee and their customer relationships.
“We’re all a family here,” Steph said.
Now they own two stands in Federal Way, one at 29005 Military Road S. and the other at 27404 Pacific Highway S., with the possibility of another stand coming to the Twin Lakes area in the future.
Born and raised in Federal Way, the siblings can’t imagine having their coffee stands anywhere else.
According to their website, many people in the area consider Jump Start to have some of the best coffee in the city.
Steph originally went to Washington State University for her degree in exercise physiology, only finding out after a few months into working at Gold’s Gym that she hated it.
So, with her sister Mykel signing on as a silent partner, she got a bank loan to start Jump Start.
She had worked as a barista for a locally-owned coffee cart in Covington when she was in high school, and owning a coffee stand seemed like an attainable goal that she’d actually enjoy, she said.
And here they are, 20 years later, still loving their business.
“We feel very blessed,” Steph said, “To not just be surviving, but thriving.”
The Federal Way community has a lot of love for them too.
According to the community watch Facebook page, people rarely had a negative thing to say about Jump Start.
Cherie Kallis commented Jump Start has the best coffee in Federal Way.
“It’s never bitter,” she said. “Just smooth. I love all their drinks.”
For many of the residents who commented on the stand, they said it was their preferred place to get their caffeine fix. Even people who don’t drink coffee say they’ve heard nothing but good things.
Cathi Servis said, “I don’t drink coffee but everyone I know that goes there loves them.”
As small business owners, they also work in both locations as baristas, so if you ever stop at one of their stands, there’s a good chance you might be getting your coffee from the sisters themselves.
One of the managers at the Pacific Highway location, Irma Barreras, loves working for the sisters.
“I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else,” she said.
Starting up the stand was very much family-run, Steph said. Their mother helped wave signs to drive business in.
Mykel, who also got her business degree from WSU, came onto the business as a full partner in 2000 after leaving her insurance job at her father’s company.
Both sisters get their entrepreneurial spirit from their father, who owns Hart Insurance Agency in Federal Way.
For more information about Jump Start Espresso, visit https://jumpstartespresso.co.