Thomas Hammer and the Coffee Forward Business Model

Thomas Hammers tries to stray from stereotypical coffee shop vibes



Activity at Thomas Hammer on Main Street in Pullman winds down after a busy day, Sept. 9th.

JOSHUA SONEDA, Evergreen reporter

Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters is a local coffee shop off Main Street based in Spokane, with locations around Eastern Washington and Idaho.

Store manager Kelly Ritchie said Thomas Hammer’s goal is to be its own brand, rather than a competitor to an international corporation such as Starbucks.

A McDonald’s in New York would be pretty much the same as one in Pullman, but a Thomas Hammer Coffee shop in Idaho would be completely different to one in Pullman, Ritchie said. That’s because of the individuality that the company offers in its different branches, aside from the coffee culture.

“Coffee forward means that headquarters and the people that created Thomas Hammer care a lot about where they get their beans, the kind of beans we use, and having the knowledge to explain the differences,” said Thomas Hammer’s Barista Charismah Worden.

She added that while a place like Starbucks might have four pumps of sugar for a medium coffee, Thomas Hammer would only have around one and a half to two pumps to not overpower the coffee itself.

The coffee itself is the core of the business, Ritchie said. One of her favorite things about coffee is its ability to bring people together, in a way that not many things do in the world right now.

“Coffee is such a unique media to bring every type of person together,” she said. “Some people who have a different set of political beliefs aren’t going to, in most places, interact with one another, but in a coffee shop, they’re in the same space together.”

The store isn’t just coffee though, even if that is the focus. In fact, Worden recommends a lavender matcha with oat milk.

Aside from the drinks, there’s also the appeal that a community-involved coffee shop has. Rather than the standardized structure that larger businesses might have, Thomas Hammer has more individuality and ability to change based on location and community engagement, Ritchie said.  

“We’re very locally involved,” Worden said. “Like right now for football season, if you wear your Coug gear on football days, you get a dollar off.”

Worden said that the work culture at Thomas Hammer is great and that the managers and store go above and beyond;  if you enjoy your job, you’ll always do better.

Mint syrup and caramel might taste great, but if you like the taste of the coffee itself, then Thomas Hammer is the coffee shop for you.