Perfect Perk: Family sets up roots in Washington with coffeePublished 10:08pm Monday, August 5, 2013
Until last year’s move to Washington, each of Clint and Christina MacMiller’s home addresses were temporary ones.
Clint is a master sergeant in the U.S. Army. His 20-year military career includes a stint in the Marines and constant deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Those deployments are what led the family to eastern North Carolina.
“I’d done multiple combats in Iraq and Afghanistan and I didn’t want to do it anymore,” Clint said.
He now works in the Army ROTC program at East Carolina University and the MacMillers say they are here to stay. In the year they have called Washington home, the family has already earned a nickname.
“We’re the coffee people,” Christina said.
They earned the moniker about four months ago when they opened the Perfect Perks Coffee Hut in the Pamlico Plaza.
“One of the reasons we opened this, is we’re planning on expanding, doing more and being involved in the community,” Clint said. “We’ve met some great people here.”
Establishing roots in Washington gave the family the opportunity to pursue the business venture.
The years on the move gave them the idea to make that venture in coffee. Washington was one of the first places they had lived that did not have drive-through coffee huts in any of the shopping centers.
“I wouldn’t say we’re coffee fanatics, but we love a good cup,” Clint said. “They’re inexpensive to get started. Or so we thought.”
He said the business is family-run plus one employee. The family employees are Nicholas, 8; Victoria, 10; Cara, 11; Nathan, 15; and Brittany, 19. The kids help in varying degrees. Clint and Christina quickly learned that Brittany was management material.
The MacMillers bought two coffee huts and plan to eventually open a second drive-through location. They came up with a menu that includes frappes and fruit smoothies.
“We have an amazing vendor out of Raleigh, Larry’s Beans.” Christina said.
The vendor created a signature organic blend for Perfect Perks Coffee. The Perfect Perks coffee blend will be increasingly easier to find in Washington as the MacMillers expand their business. They plan to open the Perfect Perks Coffee and Cafe in three weeks.
“We’re opening in the old Washington Café across from the hospital,” Clint said.
They plan to team up with a local baker to serve pastries. The cafe will keep late weekend hours for live music and art shows. Christina said she wants the coffee shop to be a comfortable place for people to meet or do business.
Opening a new business has been a challenge for the family. Clint said his biggest challenge has been spreading the word that they are there.
“We still have people pull up and say they didn’t know we were here,” he said. “It’s all about getting the name out there, the customer base, as we become part of the real estate.”
Christina faces a new challenge each time she orders supplies because the most popular items seem to change from week to week.
“I think they all just want to try everything on the menu,” she said of her customers.
The challenges are minor ones for the MacMillers. They have adopted a philosophy that time is what you make of it.
Their business philosophy is nothing short of perfection. After all, they are “Perfect Perks.”
Christina wanted to emulate some of the best customer service she knew, so she took the Disney Institute’s business seminar on quality service. And serving Washington has been a pleasure.
“We’ve lived a lot of places and everybody has been so nice and so supportive, just giving us a break,” Christina said. “That’s been the real push to expand. We’ve seen some amazing people.”
Perfect Perks Coffee Hut is located at 1307 West 15th Street in the Pamlico Plaza and is open Monday through Saturday, from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Find them on Facebook, Instagram, Yelp and Twitter.