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Trina Jesperson (NTHS '84) - Schoolhouse Coffee Owner

Trina JespersonLocal entrepreneur Trina Jespersen is giving back to her community as the owner of Lacey’s Schoolhouse Coffee. Trina, who attended South Bay, Chinook, and North Thurston (class of 1984), never expected to become a business owner. In fact, she attended the University of Washington to pursue pre-medicine, but ended up with a teaching certificate. She accredits her inspiration to teach to her favorite NTPS teachers. “Mr. Booth, Mr. Miller, Mr. Olson, and Mrs. Wertz to name a few,” she said. “These teachers really seemed to love their subject and really enjoyed teaching it to young people.”

After college, her career took an unforeseen turn when she met her future husband. “As far as becoming a business owner, I’d say my husband is my biggest inspiration. Being an introvert, I never saw myself running a business. But his example has encouraged me to take a risk and open Schoolhouse Coffee.” Since starting the business, Trina has become a Partner in Education with Salish Middle School. Prompted by the construction of the school nearby, Trina said, “It feels like a great way to give back to something that gave so much to me. Being a Partner in Education was the perfect opportunity to be involved.” As a P.I.E. partner, Trina has donated time and money to the district to teach students about business ownership. “I’d like them to get as much education as they can. Set goals. Work for others in the field they are  interested in pursuing,” she said.

The coffee shop, which opened in March of last year, has been an instant success in the community. Serving breakfast and lunch in addition to its café, the business has become a hub for locals to get their caffeine fix. As a small business owner herself, Trina has prioritized using other local products and companies. Their coffee is sourced from Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. and the shop features local Oly artists in its design. Such a feat is not easily managed, Trina admits. “Managing 3-4 employees, keeping the books up to date, paying bills, managing inventory, advertising, and last but not least, making coffee for the awesome community of northeast Lacey.”

She certainly has a full plate, but she doesn’t mind. “I love that I get to be creative with my business, from developing food/drink offerings, social media, decor, etc.,” she said. Her unexpected passion for business fulfills her life in many ways. “One of the best things about being a business owner is being able to be involved in the surrounding community,” she said of becoming involved with the P.I.E. program. Over thirty years after graduating from North Thurston, Trina still values her educational experience and looks forward to staying connected to the district to give other students the opportunities she had. “The motto on our wall at Schoolhouse Coffee says ‘Never Stop Learning’,” she said, “and we live by that!”

--Written by Rachel Booth, Community Relations Intern