Caffeine for a Cause

Local man uses his bean to unite his family
By Dan Aznoff | Jan 03, 2019
Photo by: Dan Aznoff Barista Kyle Wilson-Wade flashes his trademark smile as he creates a hot brew for another loyal customer at Kakes & Koffee on the Bothell-Everett Highway. The young business owner works 12-15 hours every day to earn enough money to bring members of his family from Ferguson, Missouri.

Every hot beverage that Kyle Wilson-Wade serves from his specialty coffee bar represents another relative who is one step closer to being part of the extended family the entrepreneur envisions for his wife and baby.

The native of Ferguson, Missouri has cleaned hundreds of offices and washed thousands of windows to earn enough money to buy the equipment he needed to open the doors of Kakes & Koffee on the Bothell-Everett Highway in November.

“My father had moved to Washington in 2013. He loved the beauty of this area and convinced me to join him,” Wilson-Wade said while he concocted a favorite of his customers, a Cookies and Cream Frappuccino.

“He was right. My mission now is to get the rest of the family away from the violence that is an everyday occurrence back home in Ferguson.”

Wilson-Wade’s first move was to lure his longtime girlfriend to his adopted hometown. The couple is planning to get married during the next year to complete the family they started with the birth of their daughter, Kaylei.

The road to happiness did not start out lined with donuts and croissants. Two years ago, the couple was homeless and living in their car.

“Kyle’s story is truly amazing,” said Jim Ryan, who has been both a friend and a mentor to the hard-working young man. “He has worked hard to provide for the people he loves. He has been inspired by helping others, especially members of his family who have been caught in the cycle of crime and violence back in Ferguson.”

According to Ryan, Mill Creek’s newest business owner began his journey toward financial independence by working dozens of jobs to keep his family fed and a roof over their head. Wilson-Wade and his girlfriend were forced to sleep in their car when they slipped through the cracks of the social service safety net.

“It would have been easy for Kyle to turn to drugs and a life of crime in Ferguson,” said Ryan. “But he kept his focus on family. Both the family he created here and the relatives he left back home.”

When he realized that toiling as an employee would not help him reach his goals, Wilson-Wade went out on his own. He began by working nights cleaning offices, and eventually went door-to-door through neighborhoods asking if he could wash windows.

“It started when one woman asked me to wash the windows on her home,” he remembered. “I had no idea how much to charge. So I asked for $25.”

The woman was shocked and insisted that he accept $250 for his efforts. With a renewed sense of self, the independent businessman compiled a list of loyal customers who helped him raise enough capital to reach for his dreams.

The coffee bar came into focus when he noticed the empty space behind Heritage Bank and Jiffy Lube. He formalized his plans several months later when he saw the space was still vacant.

“No bank would loan him the money he needed to open the coffee bar,” Ryan said. “So he decided to work even harder so he could buy the equipment he needed.”

So Wilson-Wade paid $4,000 in cash for equipment he needed to turn his dream into a reality.

His hard work has paid off. Kakes and Koffee already has dozens of loyal customers who clean out his inventory of baked goods before the end of the morning rush.

“This is way better than I ever imagined,” he said.

Kyle may have a challenge when it comes to spelling the name of his business, but his commitment to his family has been a recipe for success.

He concluded with a phrase that could hang from the wall of his shop, “Kare for others and they will be Kind to you.”

Kakes & Koffee is at 13212 Bothell-Everett Hwy. Learn more about Kyle’s story at

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