by Betty Yu

WALNUT CREEK (KPIX) — Over the past 15 years, Philz Coffee has become a Bay Area favorite and, judging by the steady line out the door at the chain’s new Walnut Creek store on its opening day, the love is growing.

Cassidy Woodworth, from Concord, was ready for her caffeine fix.

“It’s my favorite coffee. I’m glad that it’s coming to Walnut Creek,” she said.

“It’s not like a big box coffee chain, there’s a little more of a homey feel to drinking Philz,” Riad Bekhit from San Bruno told KPIX.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is known to be a Philz fan, too. The brand has 39 stores and counting, spread across the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Orange County.

But — in Silicon Valley fashion — it started small with Phil Jaber in 1976. He created unique blends at the family grocery store in san francisco’s Mission District, where the original Philz still remains.

Jacob Jaber, Phil’s 30-year-old son, has been running the business for the last 12 years as CEO.

“Every single cup is handmade for each customer,” Jaber said.

Jaber plans to continue expanding the business outside California.

Washington DC was its first East Coast market, Boston is up next, and Philz has set sights on New York. They plan to add about ten stores a year. And, much like a tech company, Philz has raised $75 million in venture funding. Notable investors include Snoop Dogg, actor Jonah Hill and rapper Nas.

As to whether Philz will evolve into a major competitor to Starbucks or Peet’s, Jaber doesn’t aim to grow for growth’s sake.

“I don’t like to think about it as a lot of locations … we’ve got to go to every community and we’ve got to earn our trust and we’ve got to earn our growth and we’ve got to do a great job,” he says.

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