Kennewick coffee shop owners fired up

By Loretto J. Hulse, Tri-City HeraldFebruary 26, 2014 

Li'l Firehouse Coffee

Chuck and Amy Sleater recently opened Li'l Firehouse Coffee at 3708 W. Clearwater Ave. in Kennewick.

BOB BRAWDY — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

The drink menu board at Kennewick's newest coffee stand offers an eclectic choice.

Instead of lattes or cappuccinos, choose an Extinguisher, Big Chief, On Call, Inferno and more -- all with "fiery" themes.

They're being served at Li'l Firehouse Coffee in Kennewick, owned by Chuck and Amy Sleater of Richland.

It's easy to get fired up on caffeine at the Li'l Firehouse. Just ask and they'll include up to six shots of espresso in your brew, free.

March is the shop's grand opening month, with specials every day. Check them out on Facebook.

Coming up with a name and theme for the new business was easy. Chuck and his family have a long history of fighting fires.

Chuck has been a firefighter/emergency medical technician with the Hanford Fire Department for more than 12 years.

He joined Benton Fire District 1 as a volunteer when he was 19. Later, after finishing two years at fire school in Tacoma, he joined the Hanford Fire Department.

Chuck's father is a retired Pasco firefighter, his uncle was a Benton Fire District 1 fire commissioner for many years and several cousins became firefighters.

So building a bright red mini firehouse for the coffee shop "was a no brainer," Chuck said.

"We thought it would be a really cool, neat theme and that kids especially would like it," he said.

The idea of opening a coffee shop has been on the Sleater family's back burner for several years.

"My aunt has one in Yakima and has been urging us to open one for years. When I had back surgery last year, I had a lot of time to think and wheels began turning in my head," Chuck said.

He drew up a design, had a professional review it and he and his wife began looking for a location.

"We looked everywhere to find a place with a lot of traffic and where we were able to lease instead of buy the land," Amy said.

Chuck spent his days off building the kiosk, "every cupboard, every counter," said his wife.

They opened Feb. 14 at 3708 W. Clearwater Ave., in front of Maxey's RV and Mobile Home Park and a few doors west of Walker's Furniture. They say business has been brisk, keeping them and their eight employees busy.

Coffee isn't the only thing on the menu either. They also offer a full selection of fountain drinks and an expansive menu of fruity energy drinks.

And don't overlook their food options.

The one that's a hit with their customers -- young and old -- is waffles on a stick.

They use a special appliance called a Lolly Waffle Maker to make waffles wrapped around a sausage for breakfast or a hot dog. The Sleaters also have pizza-flavored batter to enclose mozzarella and marinara sauce and another to make S'mores waffles.

They also sell bacon in a bag.

Hours are from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is 396-7887.

w To submit business news, go to bit.ly/bizformtch.

w Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com

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