TV time, national exposure brewing at Whidbey Coffee

Spokane-based Red Lion Hotels Corporation announced Tuesday that Whidbey Coffee will be served in the lobbies of Red Lion Hotels and Red Lion Inn & Suites within the next two months.

Dan Ollis can be seen smiling a lot these days.

Aside from appearing in his first television commercial recently, Ollis also is happy about his Whidbey Coffee Company brand getting a taste of the national market.

Spokane-based Red Lion Hotels Corporation announced Tuesday that Whidbey Coffee will be served in the lobbies of Red Lion Hotels and Red Lion Inn & Suites within the next two months.

Ollis said it marks the first time that Whidbey Coffee’s brand is branching out on a large scale beyond the state of Washington.

“We don’t have a lot of customers out of state,” said Ollis, who grew up on South Whidbey.

“This account will change that for Whidbey Coffee. It’s fun news. Now the big work starts.”

Ollis owns 12 Whidbey Coffee retail stores in Snohomish, Skagit and Island counties, including four on Whidbey Island. Two stores are in Oak Harbor.

Ollis’ alliance with Red Lion also includes his Seattle-based Victrola Coffee Roasters brand, which will be served in lobbies of other Red Lion hotels such as Hotel RL, starting Aug. 1 in Baltimore, Md.

“We will be known for our coffee experience,” Greg Mount, president and chief executive officer of Red Lion Hotels Corporation, said in a news release. “When we met the owner and staff from these award-winning coffee brands, Victrola and Whidbey, we knew they understood our vision. It’s more than just serving a great cup of coffee or latte, it’s about the Pacific Northwest culture and the passion for the experience and then translating that into the layout and design features of the lobby.”

The idea is an effort to move the coffee experience out of the rooms and back into the lobbies, Ollis said.

He likes the partnership because Red Lion is a Washington corporation and also because it grows the wholesale side of Whidbey Coffee’s business.

Last month, Whidbey Coffee got even more exposure as Ollis appeared in a Heritage Bank commercial.

Ollis said he’s been a longtime customer of Heritage Bank and was one of four Western Washington business owners approached by the bank to be featured.

In the commercial, which was shot in May on a lighting stage in South Seattle, Ollis is shown in slow motion pouring a large scoop of coffee beans.

Through the magic of film, the beans appear to be dropping into a funnel-shaped tray on a table before him, but that wasn’t the reality.

“The beans are splashing all over the table,” said Ollis, who figures it took about 50 takes to get it right.

Although he’s seen a video of the commercial, Ollis said he had yet to see it run on television. Many friends have, however, including when it launched on KCPQ-13 FOX during coverage of the U.S. Open last month.

“I’ve had a number of colleagues and friends call and of course tease me,” he said.


More in Business

Heaping slices of awesome

Whidbey Pies Cafe named as best pie in Washington

Nonprofit opens doors at new, larger location

Garage of Blessings now has more space than it ever has before,… Continue reading

Oak Harbor High School grad starts career at bank

Peoples Bank announced the appointment of JAHLEEL VESTER as real estate loan… Continue reading

County clarifies winery, brewery, distillery code

After decades without clear definitions in its code, Island County has adopted… Continue reading

Town makes changes to 2 percent funds process

The Town of Coupeville voted Tuesday to make a few minor changes… Continue reading

SaviBank breaks ground for branch on Midway

SaviBank has broken ground for a new branch on Midway Boulevard in… Continue reading

Island Transit honors maintenance team

Island Transit is recognizing its maintenance team with a Wall of Fame… Continue reading

Whidbey solar business warns against policy change

Whidbey Islanders like to go green. Whidbey has more solar energy installations… Continue reading

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County gets new director

Jennifer Paddock had dedicated her career to helping children, which made her… Continue reading

Oak Harbor Mayor Bob Severns, Police Chief Kevin Dresker, and deputy fire chief Mike Buxton addressed the audience’s concerns. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Homeless meeting focuses on health, safety issues

Business owners and community members voiced concerns to city officials about trespassing,… Continue reading

Oak Harbor Best Western wins brand award

Best Western Plus in Oak Harbor received the Best Western Hotels &… Continue reading