The fact that I was a customer…led our paths to converge…we started seeking alternative businesses…what if we try to open a franchise coffee location?

Cathy Bauer

Co-Owner/Manager, Cabin Coffee Co

We chatted with Cathy Bauer of Cabin Coffee Co., we discussed her path to Cabin Coffee, origins of the business, how their coffee and products stand apart from other coffee shops and what’s next for this business.


Amy Gabay 00:05
We chatted with Cathy Bauer of Cabin Coffee Company. We discussed her path to Cabin Coffee, origins of the business, how their coffee and products stand apart from other coffee shops, and what’s next for the theory of business. You can find more conversations, food reviews, live music and events on our website, I’m Amy.

Brent Hanifl 00:24
I’m Brent.

Amy Gabay 00:25
And this is La Crosse Local.

Cathy Bauer 00:27
My name is Cathy Bauer. I was born and raised in north central Iowa. Cabin Coffee is originates in north central Iowa. So the fact that I was a customer, drank coffee at the coffee shop kind of led our paths to converge. And both my husband and I were in the building industry, cabinet manufacturing business in the early 2000s. You know, with a housing downturn and everybody getting mortgages and housing shortages, you know, the whole debacle with that financial and things we decided maybe we shouldn’t be in the building industry in the early 2000s. So we started seeking out some alternative businesses, both Ed and I have good business backgrounds that work well together. So we thought well, what if we try to do something crazy, like open a franchise coffee location, so we’d always wanted to be in the La Crosse area. That was kind of our opportunity to do the segue from North Iowa to La Crosse. And Cabin Coffee agreed that La Crosse was a great location for a coffee shop. And that’s kind of what got us to La Crosse. So coffee brought us here.

Brent Hanifl 01:48
You kind of knowing about Cabin Coffee Company already, how did the business get started? How did it kind of align with you guys a little bit?

Cathy Bauer 01:56
You know, Cabin Coffee Started this month 19 years ago. So it was a similar, smaller situation, husband and wife decided they want to do something different. They were inspired by drinking a cup of coffee and eating a fresh baked bagel on their way from Des Moines to Clear Lake, Iowa where they lived. Thought gosh, we would love to do this in our community. And they just started brainstorming a business idea. Always thought they wanted to set it up so that it would work in a franchised location or franchised format. So Brad and Angie Barber started the whole concept in 19 years ago in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Brent Hanifl 02:39
So I mean, it is kind of interesting. I mean, when I think of Cabin Coffee Company, I instantly transported to the different items the wood, just the environment the comfortability about it. How does your coffee you know, products and actual store kind of stand apart from other coffee shops?

Cathy Bauer 02:56
You know, that’s an interesting thing, because people think coffee shop equals coffee. And while we do, I think one of our best signature things is our fresh roast coffee. So all of the coffee we brew, starts out as green coffee on site, and it gets roasted every day. We roast fresh, we roast for the consumer, we roast for our own brewing purposes. So that is really the only way you’re going to get a really great fresh cup of coffee is to have it, your source of roasting right at the source where you’re brewing it. So that’s probably one of our more unique selling points. But I guess the other side of it is that we’re so much non coffee. So we’re more about a place to gather. We’ve got a meeting room. So we’re about the social aspect of community. And it is probably if you looked at our menu we’re more non coffee things, breakfast lunch, you know, we’re fresh baked bagels, then we are coffee things. So it’s that nice, community based environment, but we also happen to have the best cup of coffee in town.

Brent Hanifl 04:12
You’ve heard it here first, right?

Cathy Bauer 04:13
Yes, yes.

Brent Hanifl 04:15
So I mean, I completely agree with that in the sense of just the environment of Cabin Coffee. Traditionally, you know, you can feel comfortable without some of the bigger chains. But you know, it does. I’ve used that meeting meeting room in the back there downtown pad, you know, grabbed a scone along with the coffee. It is kind of like it’s just as comfortable as your traditional coffee shops. And it has all the amenities as well.

Cathy Bauer 04:37
Yes, I hope so. I hope that’s what people feel when they walk in.

Brent Hanifl 04:40
I’m sure just like everybody else you’ve had potentially a few 18 rough months over the past couple years here.

Cathy Bauer 04:48

Brent Hanifl 04:49
What’s next? What are you excited for?

Cathy Bauer 04:52
You know, I really get excited to see downtown spring back to life. I think that the La Crosse Center really positioned Downtown La Crosse to be bigger and better than it was before. And we really enjoyed being part of the downtown atmosphere prior to March of 2020. But seeing the opportunity to just really make Downtown La Crosse a more dynamic community tourism center. I think that’s really what excites us about being downtown.

Brent Hanifl 05:28
If people are coming for a visit or you know, local, what’s the best avenue for them to find out more information?

Cathy Bauer 05:34
You know, our Facebook page is pretty active. So that’s a really great landing spot. If you’re looking to see well what’s it look like inside before I go venture in? What are they featuring today? But our website, Cabin Coffee, has a corporate website for the franchise as a whole. But our La Crosse page really has dialed into what’s available. It’s got our menu on it. It’s got you know, links to some opportunities to order online we did morph into that delivery service over the past 18 months. So that website is really a great landing page but definitely you want to just come in.

Brent Hanifl 06:15
So what’s the go to suggestion for meal wise maybe for lunch?

Cathy Bauer 06:19
Lunch, my favorite is the Cabin Clubs so think marble rye bread, little toasty. And then the traditional turkey ham bacon cheese lettuce, tomato. That’s really my favorite lunch.

Amy Gabay 06:35
La Crosse Local Podcast is a production of River Travel Media. Do you have an interview idea you’d like to share with us? Message us on Facebook at La Crosse Local. Find out more about us at and you can subscribe to the La Crosse Local Podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you’d like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it.


About La Crosse Local

La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.

Find us in your favorite podcast app.

Listen to this podcast on Spreaker