For a decade, Jeramy and Marcie Wilcox have kept the Squeeze and Grind coffee and smoothie cafe running, well, smoothly, as a vital cog in the Downtown Camas scene.
The coffee and smoothie cafe has been a fixture on the corner of 6th Avenue and Cedar Street, pumping out hundreds and hundreds of magic elixirs to local customers.
“Squeeze and Grind was already established in Downtown Camas, but both of us were born and raised in Washougal, so the Camas-Washougal community is home to us and we couldn’t imagine owning a business anywhere but this area,” said Marcie Wilcox, about buying the cafe 10 years ago.
So what got her into this decade-long family business? “I started working for the original owner of Squeeze and Grind shortly after they opened in 1999, as I was attending college. After a couple of short breaks to get married and try out a different career path, I was always drawn back to the cafe. I think in part to the flexibility, especially as we started a family … and of course the people!”
She said she started to realize that her heart was downtown, in this little drive-thru coffee shop, and that she really wanted to own her own business.
“I love helping people start their day, treat their kids and staff. And just being a part of the Camas-Washougal Community is like having a huge extended family. We couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity we were given almost 10 years ago to become business owners,” she said.
Although there were challenges to taking over an already established business. “The first challenge was shortly after we purchased the business, the building was going to foreclosure/auction … but luckily we were able to work with the bank and purchase the property.”
She said that, of course, the latest challenge is the pandemic. “But in all honesty, having a drive-thru has been a huge blessing and has allowed us to operate this entire time. Probably the biggest challenge for us personally, owning two businesses now, is finding that work-family balance.”
Jeramy and Marcie recently opened Cedar Street Bagel Co.just two blocks south, which has been a full-time operation to boot. They have two teenage boys, Collin and Caden. The challenge, she said, is that “while we find it extremely important to show them that a hard work ethic pays off, there’s a fine line between that and not letting the days, while they’re still at home, just keep passing by.”
Marcie said she believes the key to overcoming most challenges is to take it one day at a time, to avoid feeling overwhelmed, and to find the light in every situation, as most challenges present massive learning curves.
One key to the Squeeze and Grind business mantra is making customers feel welcome. “And asking the right questions at the right time. Remembering customers’ drinks, past conversations, getting to know them personally,” Marcie said. “I see a real desire to support local. We live in a special community where our small businesses are the heart and soul of this little town, and thankfully the residents feel that way too.”
And support their local Squeeze and Grind they do. While smoothie sales sometimes differ from summer to winter, Marcie said business has been brisk. They average up to 200 smoothies a day right now. “Our most popular smoothie is our Peanut Butter Cup … and I’d say our most popular coffee drink is our white chocolate mocha.”
And coming this spring to the Squeeze and Grind menu? “Well, let’s just say it has something to do with pearls!” Marcie said.
Be sure to try their Orange Creamsicle smoothie, too! It doesn’t disappoint!! 537 NE Cedar.