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‘A humble but spirited drive-thru coffee shop’

The Coffee Cabin legacy continues in Marshfield

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July 8, 2024

MARSHFIELD – The past four years, Kirsten Tertin – owner of Coffee Cabin – said have been nothing short of a whirlwind.

The coffee stand – which was originally started in 2003 by Matt and Carrie Demmerly – is located at 103 W. Kalsched St. in Marshfield.

Since the beginning, Tertin said Coffee Cabin has become a hub within the community.

“I feel like we change a lot of lives,” she said. “People pull up in the drive-through and they are like, ‘I just finished my cancer treatment, and this is the first place I wanted to come.’” 

When one of her regular customers died suddenly, the Coffee Cabin community raised money for the family. 

“You build this community that does matter,” she said.

Doing things her way

Tertin said she started her coffee career at Starbucks, subsequently working for several coffee chains.

She said she had long been a customer of Coffee Cabin – and though never giving it any serious consideration at the time, she always thought owning a coffee shop of her own would be fun.

When Tertin mentioned the idea to the then-owner, “he said, ‘we’ve been trying to sell this place for 17 years.’”

Throwing caution to the wind, Tertin said she nearly immediately said “I’ll buy it.”

“He thought I was kidding,” she said. “I said, ‘no, I’m serious, I’ll buy it. I’m going to do this thing.’ So, I did.”

When she took over operations – in the middle of a global pandemic – Tertin said she kept the recipes and ingredients the same but added aspects the business didn’t have at the time, including the ability to accept credit cards, social media marketing and loyalty rewards.

Tertin said taking over a business as the world was shutting down was a bit unnerving – but its drive-thru-only operation allowed it to remain open – and busy – during the pandemic.

A green old style car with a black top waits at a drive through window.
The drive-thru-only coffee shop is located at 103 W. Kalsched St. in Marshfield. Submitted Photo

Tertin said one of her first goals with Coffee Cabin when she took over operations was to build her business around moms and parents – and the uncertainties that accompany these roles.

She said she doesn’t demote or write up those needing off work to care for sick kids or attend school events.

“That’s always No. 1,” she said. “I’ll close the shop before I let a parent have to leave an empty seat at their child’s event.”

Tertin said she employs three women full-time who are also moms, and they cover for each other when someone needs to take off.

“It helps with work/life balance,” she said.

Tertin said her second aim was profit-sharing.

“When we took over, sales were low, so I made a promise to my staff they would make whatever I made – so I have shared all of our income with the staff,” she said. “I’ve made it more of a mission than an income.”

A part of the community

Tertin said she doesn’t donate or do good to get something in return – she rather prefers to stay behind the scenes.

“I think it builds a more genuine connection with the community than constantly being like, ‘I’ll donate a couple hundred bucks, but then you have to put my logo on your banner,’” she said.

One such example, Tertin said, is Coffee Cabin’s cup sleeves designs.

Kids from five local schools in the Marshfield area, she said, are in charge of adorning the shop’s otherwise plain white coffee cup sleeves with colorful designs – usually geared to a seasonal theme.

“We donate all of the proceeds from those sleeves back to the art teachers to spend in their art rooms…,” she said. “We’re putting the kids’ artwork into the hands of the community, bringing awareness to the fact it’s important. It brightens up everybody’s day.”

Jenni Heeg from the School District of Marshfield said the sleeve-coloring project has been met with positivity in the district, especially by the kids.

“It’s been a good thing,” she said. “The kids enjoy being part of it.”

An iced latte with cold foam sitting on a table.
Owner Kirsten Tertin said Coffee Cabin sources many of its menu item ingredients from fellow local businesses. Submitted Photo

Tertin said the community rallies around those hand-colored sleeves, and some people even collect them.

“It brings (the community) together in a different way,” she said.

An upgrade

Coffee Cabin, Tertin said, previously had a location in Spencer – however, earlier this year, she decided to close that location and focus on the Marshfield spot. 

The move, she said, included an upgrade – trading in its 12-x-20-foot shed for one measuring 14 x 28.

The Marshfield location is equipped with six blenders, two espresso machines, two ice machines and two registers.

With a combined 25 years of barista experience, Tertin said the Coffee Cabin team are experts in making perfect beverages and offering a “genuinely caring attitude toward customers.”

With Coffee Cabin’s long-tenured staff, Tertin said they have many of their regular customers’ orders memorized.

“(Customers) are like, ‘I don’t remember what I got last time,’ and we’re like, ‘we do – we got you,’” she said.

As a proud member of the Greater Marshfield community, she said wherever possible, the coffee shop sources its ingredients from fellow small businesses.

“Our dairy ingredients, bakery items and our coffees are locally sourced, and we look forward to partnering with other local businesses to help each other keep the small business community vibrant,” she said.

When the shop isn’t able to source locally, Tertin said the team focuses on purposefully selecting vendors with like-minded values – such as Grounds and Hounds Coffee Company, “who share a common love and support dog rescuing as we do.”

For a list of hours and beverage/menu items, check out Coffee Cabin’s Facebook page.

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