Not your average coffee shop
By Shelly West Photo Kimberlee Miller
Nestled in East Boise’s Barber Valley on the Greenbelt, a new coffee shop—the Coffee Mill—has emerged, much to the relief of Harris Ranch residents.
After identifying that East Boise had limited goods and services offered to its residents, Treasure Valley natives, Steve and Courtney Tracy decided to open the Ranch Market convenience store and gas station, providing a valuable service to the surrounding community.
Not too long after opening, they realized that the area also had a demand for a meeting place and somewhere to get coffee on the run. The land next door to the Ranch Market was prime location. As co-owner, Courtney Tracy said, “Four different places tried to go in here and failed. Having worked with Harris Ranch, we know that they are particular on how things look and affect the area, and all those other places could not work together to make it happen for them. Each time one fell through, we would say to ourselves, we wish we could do that, we know how to work with them and we know what they want. But it wasn’t the right time for us.” Lucky for the Tracys, it wasn’t the right time for other parties either. A year-and-half later, when the time was finally right, they purchased the adjacent property and began the long process of gaining approvals and the clearance to move forward.
Once in motion, their dream of opening a drive-thru coffee shop with indoor and outdoor seating became a reality. They opened their doors in July 2017; the Tracys have enjoyed a warm reception from the community, stating that the area is happy to have a small, locally owned business instead of another franchise or corporate shop.
“The nice thing about being a small business, we don’t have to go through all these channels to change things. When a customer comes in and says, hey, we want this, we can do that for them. It’s pretty neat and the customers seem to like that,” Steve Tracy adds.
Upon entering the coffee shop, you are welcomed by friendly staff and soaring ceilings with windows that highlight the Boise Greenbelt, just outside the doors. The décor boasts cement floors edging on minimal but not lacking in warmth. There are multiple seating options including a sofa area complete with a fireplace, providing a cozy spot to curl up on a rainy day. You can also borrow a book or peruse local artist’s wares, featured on a large wall of open shelving.
It should be noted that this is no ordinary coffee shop. While they offer delicious coffee drinks, they also serve beer and wine and host happy hour from 7-9 pm, offering platters and light snacks. Also available are in-house made grab-and-go food options like breakfast burritos and sandwiches.
Serving high-quality coffee is of great importance to the Tracys. After extensive research, they found the perfect source and are excited to offer coffee by the Seattle-based gourmet roasters, Caffe Vita, a company that engages in fair-trade practices. To keep things local, they also offer delicious selections from Idaho bakeries.
Visit the Coffee Mill at 4979 E. Warm Springs Ave.