You might miss that red airplane parked on the side of their building just off the Pines exit on I-90 if you haven’t had your morning cup of coffee yet. While their location may be new, 4 Seasons has been a part of Spokane’s mornings, busy afternoons, and late-night work sessions since 1976.
“We were the original coffee roasters here in Spokane,” Jeff Henry, the manager of 4 Seasons, said. “My in-laws (Tom and Leslie Hutchinson) started the company after moving here from San Francisco. Tom’s a big weather guy, and he loved that Spokane has four distinct seasons, and that’s where the name 4 Seasons came from.”
Back when 4 Seasons was the only coffee shop in town, they were downtown in what is now Atticus Coffee. “We roasted our coffee and had a retail location downtown, which is now Atticus Coffee, for 27 years,” Jeff said. “Then we sold it to them in 2009, and we were just producing coffee for wholesale.”
Today, 4 Seasons is in every Yokes and Rosauers and has its specialty coffee blends in restaurants such as Twigs, Franks Diner, and Mizuna, to name a few. That demand eventually became too much for their location in the U-District, so in February 2019, they moved to their current location in Spokane Valley, where they roast 30,000 pounds of coffee per month, roughly 1,000-1,500 pounds of coffee per day.
“We’ve been growing about 4-6% a year for the past seven years in a row now, and we didn’t have enough room to put in another roaster to keep up production,” Jeff said. “We went from 5500 square feet downtown to 9300 here.”
With the additional space, they were able to purchase a larger roaster and have more space to package their coffee, which is done manually in-house. They also converted half of their building into a retail coffee shop.
“I just wanted it to be a grab-and-go coffee place,” Jeff said. “But my wife is the one who pushed for adding the tables and chairs and creating an atmosphere so people want to come here and have a really good cup of coffee, get some work done, or have a quick meeting.”
When you go to 4 Seasons or see their bags on grocery store shelves, the dichotomy of Jeff’s style and his wife is evident with bright orange walls and beautifully curated tables with boutique items laid across them in the coffee shop, contrasted with all-black coffee bags with white lettering that Jeff decided on.
“My wife is a very visual person; she did all of the retail side of it and curated everything in here, and she’s able to have that eye for what a customer is going to see first when they come in here, whereas I am an operations guy focused on the supply chain,” Jeff quipped.
Jeff worked for different beverage distributors for 20 years before he came on to help grow 4 Seasons’ footprint and focus on growing the company from where they were.
“A lot of our customers were of an older demographic,” Jeff said. “They all knew us from our downtown location, and if we didn’t change the look and strategy, we wouldn’t be around for another 20 years.”
Their newly redesigned retail coffee location has helped reintroduce the 4 Seasons coffee brand to a new generation of coffee drinkers, where they now serve favorites such as cold brew, Italian sodas, and velvety smooth lattes. But one thing you won’t find? Blenders.
“We don’t do blenders, and that’s why it’s so quiet here,” Jeff said, laughing. “When people come into a coffee house to sit down, work, and have a conversation, they don’t want a blender in their ear.”
Jeff, though, sticks to black coffee.
As for the future of 4 Seasons, their focus is on investing in more equipment to help them keep up with their current demand and maintain their great people.
“I want to make sure we can handle the growth we’re going for instead of overpromising on something just to get business and not being able to meet their demand. We’re focused on maintaining the high quality of our products and making great coffee that people love, and we plan to do that in Spokane for a long time.”