Brewing up sunshine

Sunshine Drip Coffee Lounge opened earlier this month and has been serving a steady stream of customers ever since.

For local entrepreneur Brenda Marti, running a business is not a new endeavor.

Running a restaurant, however, is another story.

The Whidbey Island native, who has years of retail business experience, is combining her love of retail design and healthy food in one new business venture.

Sunshine Drip Coffee Lounge opened earlier this month and has been serving a steady stream of customers ever since.

The shop, located on North Main Street in the old Coupeville Liquor Store building, offers espresso, smoothies, paninis, salads, wraps and pastries.

It also features Marti’s signature retail gift shop similar to her previous business endeavors — Brenda’s Gift Gallery and Brenda’s Front Porch.

The retail side offers a unique blend of industrial and natural materials. That theme is also carried throughout the business into the dining side.

“People have been like ‘wow,’” Marti said. “We just gave it some TLC. We want it to be homey, where people just feel comfortable.”

Business partner Gordon Koetje did all of the interior craftsman work and also runs the store during the day while Marti works at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center.

“I work at the hospital and it kind of motivated me to want to provide healthy yummy options,” she said. “Our goal is to carry locally made products. We all have to help each other.”

The bagels come from Whidbey Island Bagel Factory. The coffee is Mocha Joes, a small roaster out of Anacortes.

The pastries also come from a small, local baker.

Marti and Koetje said they hope to expand the list of local products they use as well as the gift items sold as they work out the kinks in the new business.

Since opening a few weeks ago, business has stayed pretty steady.

“Seventy-five percent of our customers have been local,” Koetje said.

The business partners said they eyed the storefront that had been empty for several years, thinking it would be an ideal spot.

“Two reasons why we were drawn here — the location and the parking,” Marti said.

The store is located away from Front Street, which can become quite busy during peak tourist season. It also has its own parking lot and is located between two major employers in town — Island County and WhidbeyHealth Medical Center.

“Hopefully we offer something that’s needed,” Marti said. “Our smoothies are fresh, it’s not out of the box. We carry gluten free offerings.”

Marti also hopes to feature seasonal menu changes and plans to bring soups to the menu this fall.

“We will always be adding and making changes,” Marti said. “I’m trying to do organic to the best of my ability. Things will be adjusted as I learn.”

Sunshine Drip Coffee Lounge is located at 306 N. Main St. and is open 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, seasonally.