The Origin Story
In the years leading up to 1981, an enterprising team of coffee professionals was leading the charge for Seattle’s coffee scene. Under Visions Espresso Sales and Service, Kent Bakke, John Blackwell and Joe Monaghan introduced a coffee counter-culture whose equipment and service would reach Italian fine dining (think Trattoria Mitchelli and Cafe Allegro), Nordstrom, Starbucks, and even streetside espresso carts.
One such cart was an institution among market vendors underneath the Monorail. Between fresh cut flowers and sizzling falafel, Dawn Loraas operated a one grouphead La Marzocco for Delightful Biteful. At a time when coffee was rarely served so “in your face,” espresso sold in Seattle was becoming ubiquitous like hot dogs in New York City.
One fateful day when their machine broke down, Dawn called Visions and Kent came to the rescue. An unfailing customer service was (and continues to be) the hallmark of Visions’ field technicians, who understood the value of congeniality in the food service industry. These values caught the interest of a local customer named Pat, who would later join the Visions team as a field technician.
Through the 1980’s, coffee and espresso equipment grew in popularity thanks to Starbucks and Nordstrom, which used Starbucks coffee and Visions’ equipment and service. Kent helped to import the machines, Joe managed sales, and Pat supported their service customers. It was October 30, 1986 when a growth opportunity was realized; Pat and Dawn Loraas took the Visions brand and service expertise to become Visions Espresso Service, Inc. while Kent and Joe focused on sales and importing as what would become La Marzocco USA.
It was a team effort in managing and growing the Visions brand. Dawn’s specialty was in business management, and Pat’s was in service management. Through the early 2000’s and continuing now, their team earned a reputation for reliable and comprehensive service. Seattle’s coffee scene was a growing industry, and independent business owners were taking huge risks to share their passion for specialty coffee. These customers valued genuine, authentic relationships in a service company; the support from Visions (both professionally and personally) offered a sense of security when the future seemed uncertain.
To further support a growing population of coffee professionals, Dawn introduced accessories and smallwares to the Visions repertoire in 1994. The barista training program began in 2004, at the same time Pat stepped away to lead as president of Franke Coffee Systems North America. His advocacy for espresso expertise grew the market for Franke superautomatic espresso machines, and Visions’ became their preferred provider of service expertise.
Pat returned to Visions as the Service Manager in 2009, and Dawn launched the Revolution brand of barista accessories and tools in 2014. They continue to develop and support their coffee community with new products, services, classes, and events for industry professionals.
After more than 30 years with Pat and Dawn at the helm, Visions is proud to be your partner and neighbor, and we’re excited to see what the future holds for us and our community!