Mission Creek offers ‘coffee with a purpose’

“Coffee with a purpose” is the tag line Denise and Walt Pulliam are using at their Mission Creek Coffee stand at the corner of Farman Road and state Route 410 in Enumclaw.

A portion of every drink goes to help military families through Fisher House, the Ronald McDonald House of military hospitals. A Fisher House is a home away from home for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and Veterans Administration medical centers. There are two in this area, one in Seattle and another near Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“We wanted to help, even if it’s a tiny pinch,” Denise Pulliam said. The couple recently earned their first Mission Creek Coffee dollar, celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary the same day and just sent their first check to Fisher House.

For the Enumclaw couple, helping military families hits close to home and was the inspiration for launching the stand.

Their son-in-law is in the military and their daughter noted there were no coffee stands or part-time jobs available near her out-of-state base.

“It kind of put a seed in both our minds,” Denise Pulliam said. “We were looking for a project. We didn’t think this would be it.”

“We were looking for something that supports our military families,” Walt Pulliam said. “We’re hoping to use this for putting together a business model where we can hire active-duty spouses.”

From building the cabin-like structure to creating their own coffee blend at Wilkeson’s Buono Coffee Company, it’s been a learning experience. She has spent years working as a swim instructor and her husband works across the street at Enumclaw’s state Department of Natural Resources office.

“We were, and still are, incredulous and humbled by the people in this community that were generous with their help,” Denise Pulliam said.

“We’re not looking to compete with other stands in the area,” her husband said. “We’re doing our own thing, as Denise likes to say.”

Using local vendors is part of “their own thing.” In addition to Buono Coffee Company, they feature Enumclaw resident Mark Dunning’s fresh products from The Daily Bagel, Soaring Spirit Teas from Buckley, snacks from Enumclaw’s Olson’s Meats and Steve’s Hot Smoked Cheese and Salmon of Buckley.

The Pulliams prepped and practiced for three weeks. Mission Creek Coffee’s grand opening was July 20, just in time for the Creation 2011 crowd.

In addition to the nearby Enumclaw Expo Center, Denise Pulliam said the stand draws a lot of traffic from the Chinook Pass and the mountain.

“I love the interaction with people,” she said. “I’ve met people from Germany, France, Yakima.

“We’ve found we give a lot of folks directions.”

Mission Creek Coffee is open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. The stand is also open late during events.

Staying true to their design, Mission Creek Coffee offers discounts to active-duty military and on Veterans Day and Memorial Day holidays.

“We want to recognize the important contributions of these people,” Walt Pulliam said.

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