A love for coffee turns into a family business | nnbw.com

A love for coffee turns into a family business

Annie Conway
Lighthouse Coffee has three locations in the Reno-Sparks area and is family-owned and operated by Hannah Prinz (left), Joel Prinz, Caleb Prinz, Malanie Prinz and Todd Prinz.
Photo by Annie Conway/NNBW |

The Prinz’s have taken their love of coffee and turned it into a thriving business.

Lighthouse Coffee is a family-owned and operated coffee shop with three locations in the Reno-Sparks area. The business is owned by husband and wife Todd and Melanie Prinz and their son Joel Prinz, who also serves as the general manager. Their daughter Hannah Prinz manages the Lighthouse Coffee at their Sparks Marina location.

Todd Prinz said that his passion for coffee started in 1979 when he finished high school. While he went into the construction industry and owned several tile showrooms over the years, his love for coffee remained. The family moved to northern Nevada 20 years ago from Placerville, Calif., for Todd to run 72 tile crews. Eventually, he decided to pursue his true passion and start his own coffee business.

The Prinz’s opened their first coffeehouse on Pyramid Highway. In 2012, they moved to their location at Los Altos and Vista Boulevard in Sparks.

“It proved to be a really good move,” Joel Prinz said. “It had a lot more traffic, a lot more exposure.”

Since then, they have continued to build on their business. In July 2016, the family opened two additional locations, one at the Sparks Marina the other in South Reno.

The three locations employ approximately 25 people.

“The name Lighthouse comes from Matthew 5:14,” Todd Prinz explained. Which basically says, “To be the light unto the world, and that is what Lighthouse is about. We are about community. Anyone who comes in our door is welcomed with open arms.”

Joel Prinz explained that they pride themselves on providing friendly customer service and their knowledgeable staff enjoys educating their customers about coffee.

“We find it fun to help customers understand the finer points of coffee,” Joel Prinz said.

All of their coffee is organic, fair trade and is roasted locally in Reno.

“We have been roasting our coffee for three years now and it has been a cool journey for us,” Joel Prinz said.

Roasting their own coffee has allowed them to supply coffee to other Nevada businesses with their whole bean program. Two of their major accounts include Napa Sonoma and the newly converted Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel. Joel is actively working to expand this service.

Lighthouse Coffee is now buying their coffee directly from a farm Guatemala through a family friend who is a Q grader, one of only about 3,000 individuals in the world who are credentialed to grade and score coffee.

“For us, it was very important that we knew the exact source, where it was coming from and the practices of every farm,” Joel Prinz said.

They hope to continue to expand their direct relationships with farms around the world.

Joel Prinz said that it has been rewarding to be a part of a family that has built a business from the ground up.

“Not all people can do that and not all people have the opportunity to do that,” Joel Prinz said.

Todd Prinz explained that owning their own business also allows their son Caleb, who has Down Syndrome, to participate in the family venture. Caleb is commonly found around the shops interacting with customers.

“It is a father’s dream and a mother’s dream to have a business and legacy that we can leave the kids if they want it,” Todd Prinz said.

They have no immediate plans to open additional stores.

“We are good with three right now but we never say no to an opportunity,” Joel Prinz said.

For more information about Lighthouse Coffee, visit http://www.lighthousecoffeeshop.com. For information about their whole bean program, contact Joel Prinz at joel@lighthousecoffeeshop.com or call 775-691-9039.