Watch out Starbucks. One of Seattle’s electrical distributors is serving up latte. Behind the Greenlee benders, between the Allen-Bradley push buttons and the AIW cord sets at North Coast Electric’s Seattle branch, you’ll find Sparkie’s, an espresso stand. Sparkie’s serves frothy drinks for just $2 as well as fresh pastries Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Electrical distributors try all sorts of things to get customers in the door,” said Counter Salesperson Steve Sandell. “Having an espresso stand in our counter area is seen as an added bonus to our customers.”

North Coast Electric’s Seattle branch has adapted to the market surrounding it. Located just eight blocks from Starbucks corporate headquarters and about six blocks from Tully’s Coffee corporate headquarters, Sparkie’s/North Coast Electric is the first espresso stand/electrical distributor in the Northwest, if not the United States.

Sparkie’s is an example of how the changing electrical distribution market is forcing smart electrical distributors to adapt to and expand their customer bases. Since opening late last year, Sparkie’s has increased the Seattle branch’s customer base. The espresso stand brings in the scientists working at the crime lab down the street as well as electricians on the way to the job site.

“Electricians and job-site foremen have the option of where to take their discretionary business,” said Joy Wolff, North Coast Electric’s Seattle Customer Service Manager. “Getting a latte and a fresh cinnamon roll in the morning at Sparkie’s is an added bonus.” A family-owned full line electrical distributor, North Coast Electric has 30 service centers across the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Arizona and Nevada. North Coast Electric supplies contractors, automation, industrial, commercial and institutional markets. With more than $204 million in 2003 sales, North Coast ranked No. 23 on Electrical Wholesaling’s most recent “Top 200.”