WENATCHEE — Cody King knew he wanted the freedom that comes from owning his own company.
“You have a really great opportunity to have an impact on a local level,” he said of owning a business.
When he became owner of Blue Spoon Dessert Bar last year, that vision became a reality, though the path from a regional operator with a national coffee chain to a small business owner wasn’t a straight line. It included time as a wedding videographer, landscaper, a job with a cider company and a stint as a bartender, among other pit stops.
The commitment to the Wenatchee Valley and a strong desire to achieve his goal helped place King on the Wenatchee Valley Business World's 30 Under 35 list this year, which recognizes the area's top young professionals.
Starting at the age of 18, King worked his way up through the corporate ranks of Dutch Bros Coffee over the course of a decade, eventually overseeing around 100 employees in Colorado.
An Oregon native, his employment at the coffee chain took him throughout the west, including a stop in Wenatchee. This work brought stability, and King said he was on a “good trajectory” with the company.
But he wanted something else.
“I was a regional operator … so stepping out of that was a big jump,” he said. “I was like, ‘I’m not sure what I’m going to do, but I know where I want to be.’ So that was kind of the mindset.”
For King, the small town atmosphere of Wenatchee and an ease of access to the region's recreational destinations appealed to him. He knew he eventually wanted to return and did so after leaving the coffee company.
“I really loved this area. There’s a lot of great people and a lot of things that I love to do outside,” he said. “It’s kind of got everything that fits the lifestyle that I love to live.”
In June of last year, the now 30-year-old purchased both Blue Spoon locations in the Wenatchee Valley from Jacqueline Stonas.
Now, King’s the one calling the shots.
“I would say the biggest difference is you're kind of doing more in each category,” he said. “But it’s not necessarily harder. It’s just different. It’s like, instead of coordinating with the linen manager daily, you have to set up the contract and manage the contract.”
A slight name change from “Blue Spoon Yogurt” to “Blue Spoon Dessert Bar,” King said brings more possibilities.
“Going from 100 employees to 12, there’s just a lot more space for time to think about the vision and kind of work on projects,” he said of the transition from Dutch Bros to Blue Spoon. “There’s more room for creativity, which is like, really awesome. I love that part of it.”
For the time being, he’s focused on the two stores he owns — at 1134 N. Miller St. in Wenatchee and 305 Valley Mall Parkway in East Wenatchee.
“We're doing something really fun," he said. "We're serving a fun product and creating a fun space for people to come with their families and on a date. Like, it's just really cool."
A new business owner, King said there's often a lot going on between his duties managing the operation, assuring a quality customer experience and supporting his employees.
Although it's not as organized as he wants it to be, a typical week for King includes sleep, exercise and writing and working to maintain weekly and monthly task lists, while also fitting time to grow and develop relationships in the region.
"It's all blended together," he said. "Life has just kind of blended together. (I'm) trying to stay balanced with health and people and business, and it's all kind of my life."
He's also learned how to celebrate his successes and appreciate those around him.
“I would say the biggest thing it’s taught me is gratitude,” he said. “There’s a lot of stress. But being able to wake up every day and say, ‘Dang, I’m really lucky, I’m really blessed. I have a bunch of awesome people working with me, and we’re doing something really fun.’”