Meet: Sambalatte:

After years of brewing, coffee business stays fresh

Luiz Oliveira takes pains to focus on quality ingredients to serve at his coffee shop, Sambalatte.

Name of business: Sambalatte

Address: 750 S. Rampart Blvd., Suite 9, Las Vegas, NV 89145

Phone: 272-2333

Email: [email protected]


Hours and days of operation: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Sunday

Owned/operated by: Luiz Oliveira

In business since: September 2010

Describe your business.

The soul of our business is coffee; we focus to deliver the best coffee experience possible. We wanted the coffee that you taste tomorrow to taste better than what you sipped yesterday.

We also offer some great selection of loose tea leaves, fresh baked breakfast pastries, sandwiches, quiches, desserts and a huge selection of coffee accessories to brew your coffee at home.

How do you set Sambalatte apart from other coffee houses?

Sambalatte is a lifetime project that brewed for many years with research, traveling, attending symposiums prior to us launching the brand concept. Serving good coffee should be a ritual. We wanted to brew coffee in such a way that it extracts the best flavors from all the beans. We create an experience while focusing on consistency and wanting your coffee to taste exactly as expected to taste every single time. It is more than just a business to us; it truly is a passion for this industry.

How do you compete with the Starbucks of the world?

We focus on quality. We want to know where the beans come from, meet the producers and be different. We craft our coffee preparation like very few take the time to do. We truly are committed to a great cup of coffee or espresso.

You are planning to open a new location. Tell us about it. Any other plans to expand?

Of course! We have Sunset/Jones that is due to be opened in a few weeks. We have Sambalatte Monte Carlo to open by April/May. Downtown and Henderson locations are still on our radar. It takes lots of due diligence in this business to identify the right opportunity for those demographics.

What makes a good cup of coffee?

A great cup of coffee starts at the terroir. The beans need special attention when harvested. The roasting process determines the flavor profile with the final product being 50 percent the equipment and 50 percent the baristas.

What makes your business unique?

We have some of the most highly trained baristas that behold such passion for coffee. We all love what we do and strive for continuous improvement. We never settle and we are constantly striving to improve our service and technique. We simply want to be the best of the best.

What is your business philosophy?

Our modus operandi is driven by quality, outstanding guest service experience and being an innovative leader in the industry.

What’s the most important part of your job?

Identify solid team players to ensure that we provide outstanding customer service. Also making sure that we are serving delicious coffee to each guest every day. Be positive, optimistic about our economy and strive to improve a little bit each day.

What is the hardest part about doing business in Las Vegas?

The summer is brutally hot and many understandably take off for long summer vacations. Business is like a roller coaster — very hard to predict on a day-to-day basis.

What is the best part about doing business in Las Vegas?

For a city more transient than most, it can be challenging to establish roots within the community. I think we have created an atmosphere that allows many to know their neighbors. Everyday, I see our guests make friends, and there is such a sense of community and belonging here at Sambalatte. That aspect has really taken us by surprise. It is remarkable to us and one of the highlights of our success.

What obstacle has your business overcome?

As small start-up business is very difficult to survive if you don’t have a solid business plan in place and have working capital to overcome slow days that many face in the beginning. We were the underdog, and very few root for the underdog.

How can Nevada improve its business climate?

We realized that the regulations are tougher for small business than a large corporation. It is infinitely more difficult as a small business and I don’t think local officials truly appreciate what it takes. We had no Bank of America behind us. It came very close for us a few times. Very close.

Describe your management style.

During my career as an executive, I have learned that the most effective leaders are the ones who have open communication, share the vision, get everyone involved, and create an environment for all to be passionate about the brand.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Our ultimate goal is to solidify our foundations and strengthen our local roots, while allowing us to think and expand to out-of-state areas that are closer and will allow us to continue to monitor our brand.

What is your dream job, outside of your current field?

My dream job would be to own a small resort in some island in the Caribbean where people could come to be relaxed and celebrate life.

Whom do you admire and why?

My father was a great mentor to motivate me to study, work hard, be passionate for life and conquer my dreams.

Anything else you want to tell us?

Simply live your dreams!