What Qualifies Alex & Associates to be your Guide?
"We have been in the espresso business since 1969. We are the originals. We know from personal experience what works and what doesn't."
Alex Fisenko & Associates have been
in the espresso business since 1969, when together with Joe Carpiac they started to import and sell "Gaggia" espresso machines in Los Angeles, California.
As very few people in this country knew at that time what espresso was, it was very difficult to sell any machines to restaurants, as they did not have any demand for the product.
Realizing that consumer demand for the espresso based drinks would have to be created before the machines could be sold, Alex and his wife Oksana opened their first espresso bar in Berkeley in 1970. Our total investment for that store was under $6000 with most of the remodeling work done by Alex. The menu was very simple:
Pastries as available.
At that time there were a few coffee houses across the country, but they served mainly as "beatnik" hangouts and coffee was incidental to the whole setting. If they served any espresso, it would be unrecognizable by our present standards. So opening a coffee house where people would go just to drink espresso and not to listen to poetry or music was a new concept.
As there was no precedent in this country for this kind of a venture, or none that we knew about, we had to invent what American people would drink.
One of the things that we realized right away was that espresso, like they drink in Italy, was not it! You see, for Americans, coffee was a beverage with unending refills, while Italians considered coffee as a quick pick-me-up stimulant. There was no way that Americans would accept a small, one ounce cup of strong, black coffee!
Alex & Assoc. are worth talking about! Some Text will go here to test.
After three hard years of educating mainly young people in the finer art of consuming espresso based drinks, mostly cappuccinos and mochas, our efforts finally paid off in 1973 with sales of $310,000! Considering that cappuccino was only 45 cents a cup that wasn't too bad!
In 1976 Alex & Oksana opened another location, also in Berkeley. In 1981, at the expiration of the lease and sales of $400,000, the landlord decided that he wanted that location for himself and would not renew the lease. Not knowing anything about the business, he hired some of our employees and proceeded to develop the business further.
By 1988, it became one of the busiest espresso operations in the country, serving about 4000 drinks a day from three 3 group espresso machines! Since then, from what he learned from our operation, the former landlord opened about 30 more stores under the name of "Espresso Roma"; and one of HIS former managers, with the help of another entrepreneur with money, opened another 30-some chain of shops under the name of "Espresso Royale".
This shows what can be done with this business if you get a good understanding of its principles and apply them!
In 1974, after reading an article on espresso written by Alex, a young man came down from Seattle wanting to buy an espresso machine and open a similar operation in Seattle. Not knowing the business, he asked Alex to train him in all phases of the operation. He went back and opened the first true coffee house in Seattle, the Café Allegro. His name was Dave Olsen. In 1982 Dave got together with Howard Schultz and opened an espresso bar in the Columbia Center Building in Seattle. That was the birth of Starbucks as we know it today. Mr. Schultz attributes his company's success in great part to Dave Olsen's early dedication to espresso.
Meanwhile, in 1981, Alex and Oksana opened the first true espresso bar in a downtown financial district, the "Espresso Experience" in the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco. It became an instant success, with first year sales of $320,000. Not bad for a total investment of $37,000 and cappuccinos still selling at only 95 cents! For the first two years, "Espresso Experience" was the only game in the San Francisco business district, but after a while, scores of imitators began to open all around, among them Pasqua and Oh La La.
In 1986, the Fisenko's sold all units in California and moved to Portland, Oregon, where they opened the first true espresso bar in town, the "American Espresso" by Portland State University. Impressed by the 200 pounds of espresso coffee that was being used weekly in that location; Boyd Coffee Company hired Alex as a consultant to help them organize their espresso program. He worked with them for over a year, opening several espresso bars that would serve to show Boyd's Coffee expertise in the new espresso trend. Now, Boyd's Coffee has one of the most successful espresso wholesale programs in the country.
All together, Alex & Associates opened and operated 16 espresso bars in diverse locations, including the Ohio State University Student Union and the University of Michigan. All the stores, except two that were absolute bombs due to terrible locations, returned their opening investment within a year or less.
In 1994 Alex & Associates sold their last store…
Now nationally renowned, Alex Fisenko traveled all over the world on consulting assignments to locations in Thailand, South Korea, Belgium, Saudi Arabia and Barbados. He was also a speaker and seminar presenter for five years for the nationwide CoffeeFest Organization.
Alex & Associates Today
Alex passed his legacy, knowledge, and passion to his wife Oksana & their son Michael. Together Oksana & Michael now serve as freelance consultants, teaching individuals and corporations how to open / operate successful espresso bars and how to increase sales in existing locations.
Alex Fisenko wrote the "Espresso Business Success Program" guide, which provides the start-up entrepreneur with vital "real-world" information on how to start and operate a successful coffee business—updated by Alex on January 2007 and updated again in 2010. This program is available for purchase only from Alex & Associates.
Michael comes into the espresso industry with a B.A. in Business Management. As he trained first-hand extensively for 3+ years under his father, Alex Fisenko, he has a track record of excellence, not only as an accomplished barista trainer with comprehensive, intensive practicum in 'how to make espresso-based drinks", but in helping others start and run a coffee business that makes money. His talent encompasses showing our clients how to successfully tap into unlimited potential and develop a highly prosperous business.
Michael takes great pride in continuing the tradition of fine espresso and specialty drink preparation with attention to exceptional customer service. Whether he's out on-site consulting or in a class room teaching, he always avails himself to talk and support clients in their ventures. His track record speaks for itself: 10+ years of experience, w/hundreds of successful coffee shop/drive-thru owners as his references.
Oksana was the main barista, along with Alex, in 1970. Her journey also took her to finish college, earning a BA and later an MA from George Fox University. She, Alex and later Michael worked, talked, drank espresso, along with naming their dogs over the years "Mocha" and their car license plates "S Presso". Coffee was always the "topic of the day" over the 40+ years.
Michael and Oksana are now a great team, joining experience and training to help jump-start in the espresso coffee business.
Alex & Associates are based out of Portland, Oregon and can be reached at 503-590-9423 during business hours or by email anytime. Contact us today to arm yourself with the tools you'll need to make your dream of owning a successful coffee shop or drive-thru a reality!
- Alex & Oksana Fisenko opened their first coffee shop in Berkeley, CA around 1969. Because there was no precedent to this business, they learned by making every mistake in the book- so you won't have to make them!
- Opened and operated sixteen coffee shops between 1970 and 1997, including two that did not succeed. This taught the importance of choosing good locations.
- Provided "expertise and inspiration" to some of the biggest players in this field.
- Consulted for clients in Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Belgium, South Korea and hundreds of US clients in most of the states.
- Between 1992-1997 Alex was a speaker and seminar presenter for the CoffeeFest Organization.
- Developed the Espresso Business Success Program, which details how to plan, start, design, and operate a successful coffee-by-the-cup retail business. It focuses on how to sell mostly espresso based drinks. That's where the real money is! Combined with personal phone consultation that deals with your specific challenge or opportunity.
- From 1994-2007 Alex helped people all across the country to open and operate their own successful shops and drive-thrus, over two hundred as of July 2005!