Kicks Coffee Cafe remembers Alex Fisenko


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Jan 26, 2007
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News - Kicks Coffee Cafe

January 28, 2007

You Did It Right Alex!
by Ken Johnson, CEO Calleo Gourmet Coffees, Inc. and Kicks Coffee Cafe

PLANO, TX - I am deeply saddened by the loss of a close advisor and friend, Alex Fisenko. Alex passed away suddenly last Sunday, January 21, 2007 in his hometown in Oregon. I sincerely regret the fact that, despite all our plans to the contrary, we were never able to spend the time together that we had planned.

You may not know of Alex Fisenko, but, by all rights, you should. Unfortunately, the media never covered this man – a man who dedicated his life to bringing espresso to the U.S. market. Long before Starbucks was incorporated in 1985, Alex was the unsung hero of the gourmet coffee industry. Alex Fisenko had been helping companies and individuals to develop successful espresso cafes and kiosks since the late 1960's. In the U.S. alone, Alex’s guidance, advice, seminars, books and cafes all contributed to the profitability felt in nearly 30% of the coffee establishments operating today.

For those of us who had the opportunity to know Alex, we were truly given a gift. Alex was quite the character, and you need never wonder where he stood on an issue. Indeed, I owe a special thanks to Alex. While I was struggling with nearly two years of research and trying to land a monstrous opportunity with a big box retailer, Alex offered priceless insight on strategy, pricing and the espresso market in general. We did not see eye-to-eye on every issue, and that is exactly why I valued him so much as an advisor. Alex’s candor, coupled with his real world experience, provided a truth of exchange rarely known in the business world.

My sincere condolences go out to Alex’s family and friends. In memory of Alex Fisenko, Kicks Coffee Cafe has established a $500 scholarship grant in his name. This grant will be given annually by Calleo Gourmet Coffees, Inc., Kicks Coffee Café, and other branded coffee cafes. Formal details concerning this grant will be available once they are established with our Board of Directors.

Alex, you always told me, "If you can't do it right, don't do it at all." Well, Alex, you did things right. And, because you did, we’ve been able to carve out our own opportunity in this wonderful espresso market. Alex, thank you.

About Alex Fisenko

Mr. Fisenko was a pioneer and veteran of American espresso bars. He made his 1969 entrance into the coffee industry as an importer and seller of Gaggia brand espresso machines. A year later, in 1970, he opened his first espresso bar and, over the course of his career, went on to open and operate 15 more, including “Espresso Roma,” “Espresso Royale,” and the tremendously successful “Espresso,” located in San Francisco’s Embarcadero Center. Of his 16 ventures, 14 returned their original investments within one year and grew on to achieve long-term, stable success.

In 1974, when a zealous, young entrepreneur from Seattle dreamed of opening his own espresso bar, he approached Mr. Fisenko for training and guidance. Eight years later, the protege, Dave Olsen, teamed up with another dynamic entrepreneur to open an espresso bar in Seattle’s Columbia Center, and Starbucks was born.

About Calleo Gourmet Coffees, Inc.

Calleo Gourmet Coffees, Inc. is a coffee retailer whose brand, Kicks Coffee Cafe, has been featured in BusinessWeek, USA Today, Fortune Magazine, and on MSNBC’s Today Show. Kicks Coffee Cafe focuses its efforts on providing customers with excellent service and authentic espresso drinks. All of the Kicks Coffee Cafes feature Free T-1 Wi-Fi services for its customers. In addition, most locations are equipped with five 42" plasma screens for viewing news and sports throughout the day and evening.