Something is brewing in an old janitorial closet on the first floor of one of Tucson’s largest commercial office buildings. That something is Prest—a small coffee shop that’s bringing locally roasted French press coffee and freshly squeezed juice to Tucson’s office community.
Kyle Kacerek started his career in medicine. The University of Arizona alum studied physiology and worked in labs and tissue banks after graduating in 2014. “I liked a lot of the jobs but I really wanted to try something for myself,” Kacerek said. And something was missing. His breaking point came when his request for time off to go on a trip was denied. Kacerek quit his job, went on the trip, and began looking for a new career.
“I love coffee—French press coffee in particular,” Kacerek said. The young graduate noticed that there weren’t any places serving French press coffee by the cup, and that it was almost impossible to find freshly squeezed juice like the flavorful orange juice served at street stands in Guatemala, where he’d traveled. An idea was born. “Pressed coffee, pressed juice … Prest!” Kacerek said, explaining the inspiration behind the name of his business. There was only one problem: Kacerek had no business experience.
Determined to be his own boss, Kacerek signed up for the free business mentoring program offered through SCORE Southern Arizona. He quickly realized that, before he could open his own coffee and juice cart, he needed experience working in a coffee shop. After a year working at Coffee Time on Speedway, Kacerek decided that it was time to branch off on his own.
The decision to start Prest as a coffee cart came easy: The cart was easy to establish, allowed him to be mobile, and came with low overhead costs. With the help of his dad, Kacerek transformed an old hot dog cart into Prest’s first rendition. Every day, Kacerek spent hours setting the Prest cart up outside the commercial office building on the northeast corner of Broadway and Rosemont, selling French press coffee from Adventure Coffee Roasting and freshly squeezed orange juice to the building’s employees, tearing the cart down, and returning to his rented commissary space to wash dishes and restock. Two years, a lot of work, and a loyal customer base later, Kacerek began the next phase of Prest: he raised more than $5,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to transform a closet in the building’s lobby into a brick and mortar coffee and juice shop.
The seemingly small permanent location allowed Prest to get bigger. Kacerek invested in heavy equipment, like refrigerators and an espresso machine, allowing him to expand Prest’s menu to include five fresh fruit smoothies, frappés, and espresso. Four new employees help him maintain the Prest coffee shop so that he can continue bringing the Prest cart to Tucson’s GEICO offices, weddings, and events. “It’s a nice niche to serve the office working community,” Kacerek said—the young entrepreneur is already dreaming of expansion. ✜
Shelby Thompson is the online editor of Edible Baja Arizona.