What: PJ’s Coffee
Who: Kim Stitzel
Where: 900 N. Industrial Blvd., Euless
Editor’s note: Made in Tarrant is an occasional series on small businesses started in Tarrant County. Submit your business here.
Kim Stitzel had a busy career working on health, well-being and helping nonprofits achieve their goals. But she always wanted to get into a franchise, particularly one that was very community focused.
When COVID hit in 2019 and her business slowed down, she decided to explore her options.
“I probably looked at over 100 different franchise opportunities,” she said.
She chose PJ’s Coffee, a coffee concept that was born in New Orleans. PJ’s was founded in 1978 by Phyllis Jordan and sold in 2008 to New Orleans natives and brothers Paul, Steven, and Scott Ballard.
The company focus is on offering a complete line of espresso-based beverages using the top 1% of Arabica beans. Their roastmaster, Felton Jones, has been working at the company for 25 years and travels the world each year to inspect the beans they are buying. PJ’s Coffee uses a special cold-drip process that protects the flavor and strength of the beans and produces a cold brew iced coffee that is less acidic, Jones said during a visit to the Euless store in May. Jones often does roadshows on coffee at PJ’s Coffee location in a program called “cupping” that is similar to wine tasting. Don’t expect a fast evening. Jones can talk about coffee for hours. But you’ll be wide awake, taste testing coffee.
Their iced coffee concentrate is available for sale in-store and online, along with bags of whole bean coffee.
“It’s really popular because it isn’t as acidic as other coffees,” he said.
The company also offers seasonal flavors such as King Cake Latte during Madis Gras and Iced White Chocolate Latte during the holiday season.
Stitzel’s Euless store is fairly typical of the chain, about 1,400 square feet with a full indoor cafe, outdoor patio and a drive-thru.
“You have to have a drive-thru these days,” she said.
They also serve other offerings from the Crescent City such as beignets.
But for Stitzel, a key factor in choosing PJ’s Coffee for her franchise partner was the company’s community focus. She got introduced to the company initially through her work with the American Heart Association. PJ’s Coffee had sponsored a Heart Walk in New Orleans and that impressed Stitzel.
“As a woman-owned business, it was important to provide a great customer experience, along with a partner that was community-focused,” she said. “That’s really helped me decide on PJ’s.”
The coffee too, was a big factor.
“I love coffee, really, really love coffee,” she said. “I looked at about five or six other brands, and when I tasted their product, they just weren’t as good. I couldn’t get my heart behind a coffee that just wasn’t an amazing product.”
PJ’s Coffee now has about 10 locations in and around Fort Worth. Stitzel has the one location and says she may open more.
Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.