Success Story: Sweeten Creek Coffee Wins Best Coffeehouse AwardApril 5, 2023 (Published: April 1, 2023)
We’re excited to announce that Sweeten Creek Coffee has been named the best coffeehouse in Asheville, North Carolina!
In the second annual Best of Asheville contest, Asheville Media Group awarded 472 Gold and Silver Medals in 238 categories. Sweeten Creek Coffee bested about 20 other shops to win the Gold Medal for Best Coffee House.
Owner Shirley Wells expressed surprise and delight at winning the award. “I didn’t even know we were competing!” she said. “A customer nominated us and encouraged everyone he knew to vote for us.”
Meet Owner Shirley Moore Wells
Shirley comes from a long line of strong women.
Her Grandmother, Marie Solheim, immigrated from Norway to America when she was 18.
Her Mother, Helen Pedersen Moore, became one of the first woman business owners in New York, owning a grocery store and deli on Staten Island.
When Shirley started working in her mom’s store at age 10, she was so small that she stood on a milk crate to reach the cash register.
Her career took her from her mom’s grocery store to Los Vegas as the ARCSI National Convention Chairman, making her mark on the business community.
Her vision for her latest business, Sweeten Creek Coffee, was to create a “Cheers” style coffee shop, “Where everybody knows your name, And they’re always glad you came…”
She overcame the major obstacle – a lack of coffee industry experience – by signing up for our 7 Steps to Success coffee shop startup program.
From Startup to a Gold Medal in Two Years
Shirley learned how to open a coffee shop in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As she got started, our coffee startup consulting team helped with everything from choosing a winning location, designing her coffee shop and selecting equipment to training Shirley and her team to prepare drinks and serve customers.
Customer Growth Rep Heather Syx continues to work with Shirley and her team to solve problems and grow her business.
“Crimson Cup has been a huge part of our success!” she said. “Not only do they provide us with great coffee and supplies, but Heather has helped greatly with the cost of goods sold and questions about running our shop.”
Award-winning Service and Pet-Friendly Environment
Shirley believes Sweeten Creek Coffee’s friendly baristas and relaxing environment contributed to the win. “Customers say that they love our coffee and friendly, personal service!”
Programmable customer “buttons” in Sweeten Creek’s point-of-sale system allow baristas to record favorite drink orders for regular customers. As a result, customers enjoy fast, consistent drink preparation and pricing.
“Customers get excited when we ask if they want a button,” she said. “Because the initial drink price is programmed into their button, they are protected from price increases.”
The buttons are so popular that she bought wearable buttons for customers that say, “I Have a Button! Sweeten Creek Coffee, Asheville, NC.”
Shirley believes a pet-friendly policy and support for local animal shelters also drive Sweeten Creek’s popularity, according to Wells.
“We collect 50 cents for every dog cookie sold, and one hundred percent of the proceeds go to the local no-kill shelter,” she said. “We are very dog-friendly and give out free, broken dog biscuits. And belly rubs!”
Visit Sweeten Creek Coffee
Shirley invites everyone in Western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains to discover why Sweeten Creek Coffee was named the best Asheville coffee shop.
Located at 330 Sweeten Creek Road, the shop serves Crimson Cup’s award-winning craft coffee and espresso drinks, nitro cold brew on tap, hot and iced teas, kombucha on tap, Italian sodas and hot chocolate.
To complement the drinks, guests can choose from a wide selection of breakfast sandwiches, pastries, lunch sandwiches, pot pies, and quiche.