Smith Valley couple takes helm of Minden coffeehouse |

Smith Valley couple takes helm of Minden coffeehouse

by Scott Neuffer

Kealoha and Mike Garcia’s New Year’s resolution is simple: to make their new business a larger part of the community.

“Our goal is to make it all about the community, to benefit the community,” Kealoha said on Monday. “We want to be more involved with a local focus.”

In September, the 10-year Smith Valley residents purchased 88 Cups in the Minden Village, though the building is still owned by previous owners Angel Syang and Chochain Lee. The purchase barely preceded bookstore owner Linda Finch’s move from Gardnerville to Minden. Shelby’s Book Shoppe is connected to the coffeehouse.

“She came in about a month after me,” Kealoha said. “It’s perfect pairing.”

The Garcias came to the proverbial table with no shortage of business experience. Mike is a network engineer who still runs his own company, an Internet service provider, in Smith Valley. Kealoha works in real estate. In fact, it was her dealings with the local commercial market that led her into a friendship with the previous owners and eventually into a business opportunity.

“It’s a fun business, a great way to deal with people,” Kealoha said. “It’s adventurous.”

“We thought this was a unique side of business that we hadn’t done before,” Mike added.

In the last four months, the owners have learned the lounging habits of the shop’s regulars.

“I’ll see one of our regulars pull up, and I’ll already know what to have made when they walk through the door,” Mike explained.

But their larger goal, remember, is to expand the reach of 88 Cups. To that end, they’ve added a lunch menu with sandwiches, salads, chili and cornbread. They’ve expanded their evening hours concurrent with a new wine bar and beer selections. They’ve also started an open mic and comedy night on the third Friday of the month at 7 p.m. Ciana, a traditional Irish music band, performs the first Friday of the month at 7 p.m. along with offerings of Guinness beer and Dubliner cheese.

Also consider an adjacent meeting room that local organizations and political groups can rent out.

“We welcome all sides,” Kealoha said.

Ultimately, the couple envisions 88 Cups as a local venue not only for art, music, comedy and politics, but charitable causes as well. For example, the house donated 10 percent of proceeds to the high school drama club when they hosted a karaoke night at the establishment.

“There are little areas we’d like to help with,” Kealoha said. “If people have suggestions, or an organization needs a benefit, we’d love to do it.”

The new owners are supporting the community in other ways, too. The shop recently switched coffee providers, now serving organic blends from Genoa Candy & Coffee Co.

“We’re a strong supporter of local business,” Kealoha said. “We use local products as much as we can.”

Perhaps the hardest challenge for the new owners has been juggling respective schedules. The two still have their other jobs.

“We would like to build the business up enough to where we can get help and use that momentum,” Kealoha said. “We would like to create jobs; that’s the idea.”

Fortunately for Mike, he can operate his Internet company remotely. Fortunately for 88 Cups customers, the house has speedy Internet.

“We want to make this a nice, open atmosphere,” Mike added.

Located at 1663 Lucerne Street, Suite B, Minden, 88 Cups is now open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday.

For more information, call 783-0688 or visit