Couple Brings Northwest Trend South

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Kenneth and Rachael Lenzi love coffee and loved hanging out in coffee shops in their native Seattle. So, when it came time to make a living, they opened a coffee shop.

Coffee practically runs in Rachael's veins. Her parents owned a Seattle coffee shop and she started working in it when she was just 16.

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Kenneth and Rachael Lenzi opened Roadrunner Espresso, at 511 S. Beeline Highway, July 4. The Lenzis are originally from Seattle where they took their first sip of the coffee business.

More than two years ago, the Lenzis moved to Arizona, first settling in Chandler, where they opened a coffee shop. They soon decided the small-town atmosphere and slower pace of Payson was more to their liking -- and it wasn't so hot.

They spent many weekends last year traveling from Chandler to Pine, where Kenneth's father lives.

Besides the Lenzis' history in the business, they feel their shop is different for a variety of reasons.

"We give our customers options," Rachael said. "They can use the drive-through, come in and sit at our tables or in our arm chairs, or they can enjoy a drink and snack on our deck."

The shop also has a children's play area -- the Lenzis have two young daughters, Veronica, 4, and Grace, 3 -- and free wireless Internet access for customers to use.

In addition to a wide variety of coffees, coffee drinks and teas, the shop has smoothies, Italian sodas, pastries and bagel and croissant sandwiches.

"So far, the most popular drink is our blended mocha," Rachael said.

Their sandwiches vary from day-to-day, but can be accompanied by fruit, potato or macaroni salad.

"We also offer high school students a 50-cent discount on any drink with their student identification," Rachael said.

The couple's goal is to provide a fun environment, get to know their customers and make coming to the shop a great experience for everyone.

While the shop has only been open a month, the Lenzis are happy with the reception the community has given them.

"Its been very busy," Rachael said.

"There seems to be a good buzz about it," said Kenneth. "A lot of people come in by word-of-mouth.

Rachael said they will be adding soup to the menu once the weather turns cooler.

"This is what we do, come and get it," Kenneth said. "We enjoy making coffee and conversation."

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