April 12, 2016

Duo starts café in Stowe

Matt Carrell, (center) co-owner of PK Coffee in Stowe, helps a customer and a staff member at the business's new home on Mountain Road.

Provided Photo

Matt Carrell, (center) co-owner of PK Coffee in Stowe, helps a customer and a staff member at the business's new home on Mountain Road.

STOWE – In late summer 2014, Katrina Veerman and Matt Carrell met through a mutual friend and quickly discovered a mutual passion for coffee — and ideas for how to help others enjoy it, too, in a warm, welcoming space.

The result was PK Coffee, a pop-up coffee business that first appeared at Edgewise Elite Ski Service in Stowe, before it expanded into the Central Vermont area throughout the following year.

“We had so much fun making coffee, looking at placing ourselves where we could, and turning those spaces into gathering places, that we soon started talking about a permanent space,” Veerman said in early April.

They soon found one at 1880 Mountain Rd., at the Gale Farm Center. On March 12, PK Coffee opened in a permanent home within Stowe’s Mountain Road Village District, surrounded by restaurants, bars and breweries, stores and lodging, with the Stowe Recreation Path winding through all of it.

“It seems that people are happy that we’re open, and there’s been a lot of buzz,” Veerman said.

PK Coffee is named for Veerman’s great-uncle, Pierre Ketellapper, a serial entrepreneur who owned a coffee-importing company in Belgium before and after World War II. Childhood memories of early morning coffee dates with her father also played into Veerman’s passion for starting PK.

“Coffee is one of those things in the world that people take for granted,” Veerman said. “It’s almost a misunderstood art. It takes more skill to make a great cup of coffee than people expect.”

The right atmosphere matters, too, Veerman said. She and Carrell wanted to create more than a café with a coffeehouse vibe; they wanted to create “a community center for Stowe,” Veerman said. So they hired designer Tankia Kratta and contractor David Silverberg to perform their interior work at Gale Farm Center.

“Out of the four walls we have, two are covered in windows, so it’s really bright inside,” Veerman said.

PK Coffee’s new space previously and briefly housed an art gallery, but it is widely known in Stowe as the 30-year home to Wendy’s Closet.

PK Coffee seats 20, and will seat six more outside during warm-weather months. In addition to coffee and tea (from Stone Leaf Teahouse, in Middlebury), Veerman, Carrell and their staff of seven also offer baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and a house special: Not Your Mother’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich. PK Coffee sources many of its products from Vermont businesses and food producers.

PK Coffee is committed to its current space in Stowe. Veerman and Carrell would like to follow the “Skinny Pancake” model of growth by opening other sites in Vermont and elsewhere, as growth demands.

“I really want us to make our mark [and] grow the business,” Veerman said.

Starting April 19, PK Coffee in Stowe will be open six days a week. Call 760-6151 for details or visit the business on Facebook.

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