Little Red’s, Sweet & Sassy!
Aubrey Dickinson calls herself a mix of sweet and sassy, and anyone who frequents Little Red’s Espresso and Bakery is likely to agree.
The Lake Wenatchee native spent time living in Los Angeles before deciding she wanted to move back to the mountains.
“I like to make cookies and coffee, so I decided to make my own job.”
Aubrey put together a business plan and it became Little Red’s Bakery and Espresso.
At first, Aubrey ran her small drive up coffee shop on Cole’s Corner on Highway 2 where it intersects with the Lake Wenatchee Highway (SR 207). She couldn’t find an affordable place to live, so she moved into an RV that she fondly called the mousetrap. For a couple years, she worked 12 hours a day, 7 days a week by herself.
“I was determined not to go down,” she said.
On his way to Stevens Pass, her brother in law would stop by for coffee and she would write him notes on his coffee cup. Soon, people were asking if she could write on their cups, too. It became one of her signature pieces – now, every coffee cup has its own hand-written note. The notes are a mix of funny coffee quips and some sassy comments, complete with swear words. She continued to make her cookies – as big as an outstretched hand, and weighing in somewhere between ½-1 pound. Her most popular flavors are chocolate chip and salted butterscotch.
“The cookies bring people back,” she said. “I’ve mailed them across the country.”
About two years into the business, Little Red’s won a Best of the Northwest Award, and Aubrey’s determination started to pay off. She began to gain a loyal following who were attracted as much to the coffee and fresh baked goods as they were by the coffee stand’s unique style.
“I wanted a rockabilly kind of style,” she said. “Not Marilyn Monroe – more like Rosie the Riveter.”
She encourages red lipstick in her employees, and works hard to create an image that fits the Rockabilly theme she started dreaming of before she moved home from Los Angeles.
“I always want people to feel like they’re getting something special,” she said. “Nothing cookie cutter.”
Aubrey’s determination has been challenged several times. Within one year, she spent the last three months of her pregnancy in the hospital before giving birth and has had to move her Lake Wenatchee Little Red’s three times. She also won the bid to run the espresso stand in the airstream trailer outside of Pybus Market, expanding her loyal following down valley into Wenatchee.
Today, her Lake Wenatchee coffee stand is in a temporary home on the Lake Wenatchee Highway, 7 miles from Cole’s Corner around the north side of the lake. Regardless of its remote location, Aubrey’s loyalty to the area where she grew up has paid off: customers call in their coffee and food orders and go miles out of their way to support her.
“The community has been really supportive – family, too,” she said. “People have rallied for me, driving out their way to come here. At this point I’ve put so much into it I refuse to go down.”
The Wenatchee Little Red’s, managed by one of Aubrey’s friends, is a popular, successful coffee option. Aubrey is working on getting her Lake Wenatchee location back to the Cole’s Corner vicinity. Once that’s accomplished, she wants to take the mobile coffee stand she’s using there to try out new potential locations in North Central Washington.
Little Red’s Wenatchee location (15 N. Worthen St.) is open 7 days a week from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Their Lake Wenatchee location (Hwy 207 at Karl Rd) is open 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday to Sunday. To learn more about Little Red’s or to visit their online store, go to littlereds.org.