Marketplace: Professional ultra runner opens second Stoked Roasters location in Park City
There are two things that Jax Mariash perhaps loves the most in life: spending time in the outdoors and drinking coffee.
While living in Hood River, Oregon, a few years ago, she discovered a way to blend her two hobbies into a company. Mariash opened the outdoor-themed coffee company Stoked Roasters and Coffeehouse in Oregon in 2014, and opened the second location on Park City’s Main St. in February.
Mariash claims to have been a coffee lover since the age of 11. She was first introduced to the drink while working as a coffee runner for the mayor’s office in Denver. She couldn’t stand the smell, but then one day, someone recommended that she try mocha.
“I loved it,” she said. “And then I tried lattes. And then I just started having drip coffee. I fell in love with all the different origins and started geeking out on coffee at a very young age.”
It was around that time that she decided she would open her own coffee company at some point in her life.
She was on the right path after working at Starbucks for six years and receiving a college degree in management with an emphasis on entrepreneurship. But her young goals were pushed to the side as she took jobs in marketing for corporate retail companies for 15 years.
She said she enjoyed the work and appreciated what it taught her about starting and operating a business. In 2012, she decided to take a new path. She followed a guy that she was dating to Hood River and launched her own marketing agency.
A year later, she was reminded of her coffee shop dreams when a spot for a new business opened up along the Hood River. Finally, she felt ready to pursue starting a coffee company.
Within three months she had crafted a business plan and within five months had found an investor. Stoked opened after nine months. It was a stressful time, especially since it was amid training for ultra run races. Mariash is a professional ultra runner who was a world champion in self-supported ultra running races in 2016.
While running her business and training for races, Mariash traveled often. She spent summers in Hood River and winters in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. When she was living in Wyoming, she would stay in Park City before catching flights at the Salt Lake City International Airport.
She said that she quickly fell in love with the mountains, the people and Main Street in Park City. So, after going through a divorce, she left Oregon with her belongings and came to Utah. Five months later, in January of 2017, she started negotiations to open a second Stoked Roasters.
The location opened in February of this year.
“It was the perfect next step,” she said. “(Park City) is an amazing playground for adventure, which is what we are trying to market to.”
Mariash said that she found her niche in the coffee world by blending her love of the outdoors with her business. A large part of her brand is being located in towns that are hubs for adventure.
“Stoked is all about fueling the outdoor adventurist with a really good cup of coffee,” she said.
She said that the company name itself came to her while she was hiking. She yelled out, “I am so stoked that we are outside,” and when her sister suggested she use it as the company’s name, she knew that she had landed on the right moniker. All of Stoked’s coffee blends are named after outdoor terms and brand ambassadors take the coffee on their adventures.
The company also recently launched an instant coffee packet for those who want to take their coffee on the trails. “We wanted to make sure we had your back wherever you go,” she said.
She said that it has been fun and challenging opening the Park City location. This time, she did it without any investors, which she said has been a very different process compared to the first location.
It has been risky, but rewarding, and once she feels that the two locations are successful, she is eager to continue to “spread the stoke.”
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the original Stoked location in Oregon opened in 2013.
David Bieber has been a business consultant and entrepreneur for most of his adult life. Now, he is leading the entrepreneur nonprofit PandoLabs.