Coffee lab mixes the right components for Visalia shop

By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN

VISALIA – Visalia’s buzz around Component Coffee Lab is driving people through the door and owner Jon Anderson is welcoming customers with a worthwhile experience.

Their offering of coffee, food and atmosphere has made customers turn their heads. So, it is no surprise that Component was nominated for Visalia Chamber of Commerce small business of the year award just after their one-year celebration.

“There’s a lot of components to our shop, we are doing a lot of things on a lot of different levels,” Anderson said.

It isn’t lost on Anderson that a nice place to hang gives people a good reason to stay, but a good cup of joe is what gets them in the door. Which is what gives Component Coffee Lab’s owner operator the drive to get up in the morning.

Everything that goes into the menu is an espresso art form. Component recently received a new Slayer Espresso piece of equipment, and they’ve been “nerding” out on it.

“It’s like we are playing with a new car and we just got this wonderful machine and it works so well,” Anderson said. “All of that goes into the final product and that helps differentiate us from the others.”

True to his respect for coffee beans, Anderson has consciously chosen to leave ingredients off the menu, that would be considered more than common at other shops, like vanilla.

“A coffee shop and vanilla, they go hand in hand. I think we wanted to be different in the sense that if we care so much about how espresso tastes why would we mask it with another flavor,” Anderson said.

Anderson’s goal in business is simple: make the customer happy. It is not unheard of. The happier the customer is, the more money they’ll spend over time and the better they’ll promote the business. And for Anderson, he is giving Component’s customers an entire experience.

“I feel like atmosphere is a tangible product I can offer to our customers…if you’ve been there, I hope you feel at home,” Anderson said.

For the most part, excluding a coffee roasting station nearest the front door, the vibe in Component is homey. Smooth wood tones and eclectic art pieces hanging from the wall makes for a place where people can spend hours of their time.

The business administration major learned a lot about customer service through his time at Starbucks. While it was just a job to get through college, Anderson was keenly picking up on subtle nuances.

“What I learned was how to serve a customer and serve them well,” Anderson said.

Perhaps one of the biggest differences from Anderson’s single coffee shop, as opposed to coffee behemoth Starbucks is the money driven corporate structure. Anderson trains his employees and managers to jump in at the cash register when the line is out the door – and it often is – but not push people through the line. Patience at the head of the line give a less than coffee connoisseur the time to actually talk about the product. And having astute baristas allows Component to maintain their customer service standards even when people continue filing in.

Anderson’s mode of doing business is helpful for both the employee and the customer, and he has seen other methods go the wrong way. In his second day at Starbucks during college, one employee had more than his fill of Frappuccinos. With empty venti cups lined up on the counter, one more order pushed him over the edge.

“He said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’ and throws on the ground a line of cups and walked out,” Anderson said.

Fortunately, no such incidents have taken place at Component.

Armed with a passion for coffee and the knowhow of business, Anderson knew that if push came to shove he could create a business and do it pretty well. When it came time for him to have a coffee shop of his own, he knew he needed a name. On the table was Base Camp Coffee Co., unfortunately there was already one in Los Angeles.

Anderson and some stakeholders in the business decided to inspire themselves through looking at old stereo systems and derive a name from that.

“Back in the day they called them component stereo systems because it took a lot of different components to produce sound,” Anderson said.

The parallel was clear.

“It takes a lot of different components to produce what we produce. From the roasting to the customer service side our culture and the food and sourcing good material and quality stuff,” Anderson said.

But the three dots that signify Component Coffee Lab were just what was on the stereo receiver. Although Anderson did choose the colors because of how they attract the eye.

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