Kaitlyn Davis is an Emerging Leader finalist. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Kaitlyn Davis is an Emerging Leader finalist. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Kaitlyn Davis: Bringing economic vitality to Arlington

More than just coffee, Davis has created community gathering spaces where all can feel welcome.

This is one of 12 finalists for The Herald Business Journal’s annual Emerging Leaders awards for 2024. The winner will be named at an event on April 17.

Kaitlyn Davis, 33

Owner, Moe’s Coffee

In 2015, at age 24, Kaitlyn Davis bought her first coffee stand, Moe’s Espresso in Arlington.

A year earlier, the Oso mudslide had shattered the community, killing 43 people.

‘When I walked into Moe’s Espresso on the first day as the new owner, it was my mission to bring a new light to the community,” Davis said.

Determined to improve the city’s downtown, she restored an old, outdated building that had been vacant for three years. In 2018, she opened Moe’s on Olympic.

A few months later, she took over an adjoining space and opened a cocktail lounge, The Lounge at Moe’s, a cocktail bar, was born.

Today. she owns four establishments: three in Arlington and the latest, Moe’s Darrington, a Darrington restaurant. In nine years, her business has grown from seven employees to more than 40.

“It has been incredible to provide jobs for so many people in our community,” Davis said. “That is something I love about my job.”

It is more than cups of coffee she serves.

“I have created a safe gathering place where individuals from all walks of like can feel welcome in our locations,” Davis said.

Davis serves on the the Arlington Career and Technical Education Advisory Board and the Darrington Career and Technical Education Advisory Board.

“We do sponsorships with NOAH Animal Shelter, Youth Dynamics and the Arlington Food Bank,” she said. “I love being a part of the growth of Arlington and creating a town where people want to spend time.”

Moe’s Coffee is one of many businesses that work with the Arlington Food Bank. To encourage staff and employees to donate food, Moe’s has offered gift cards to donors. “It really got the community involved,” Davis said.

After graduating from Marysville Pilchuck High School in 2009, Davis knew she wanted to get into the coffee business.

“I was passionate about it and I loved the joy it brought people,” Davis wrote in her Emerging Leaders application.

She considered buying an espresso stand while still a college student, but her parents convinced her to focus on school instead.

She planned to earn a master’s and become a teacher, like her mother. At Whatcom Community College, she spent her free time working at espresso stands. It was good practice for what lay ahead. Balancing a workload that included classes and a part-time job helped sharpen her deadline, scheduling and management skills, she said.

A few months after graduation, she learned that Moe’s Espresso, a drive-thru coffee stand, in Arlington was for sale.

Davis didn’t hesitate. She called the owner that day. A family member provided a private loan to help with the purchase.

“I was a lucky 24 year old, but the hustle and dedication had been happening for the last eight years,” Davis said. “Dreams can come true when you capitalize on opportunity, and that is what I did.”

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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