Originally from Alaska, Sara Allen is the co-owner and manager of Zebra House Coffee in San Clemente, California.
Owning Zebra House Coffee, she says, is one of those examples of how the world works in mysterious ways. Growing up in Southeast Alaska, she worked in restaurants, and her father roasted coffee on their picturesque patio grill overlooking the ocean. Later, when he retired, Allen’s father started professionally roasting coffee and opened a full-service coffee shop.
Allen’s upbringing and education prepared her for small business ownership. She went to Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and studied food & beverages and finance. Finance was to pay the bills, but “Food & Bev” was the ultimate goal. She became very involved in her parents’ business, from helping with organic certification to working with wholesale accounts.
When she and her husband, Curtis Peterson, learned the Zebra House Coffee shop was for sale, it was a no-brainer. They sold their home, bought the shop and are now “proud ‘parents’ to 20 awesome employees!” She still gets to work with her dad every day too, which is a dream for a self-proclaimed daddy’s girl.