Local barista brings personal flair to Starbucks on Peace Portal Drive

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By Gwen Roley

Millions of people visit Starbucks stores around the world every day, but every member of the franchise has something that makes them different. Local coffee-drinkers in Blaine have started to take note of one of the unique baristas at the Starbucks on Peace Portal Drive.

Gavin Mikkelson, 20, is a barista who is bringing a smile to customers’ faces with his variety of bow ties.

Mikkelson said he fell into his signature look almost accidentally.

“I started wearing them one day and it was a red one, and people really reacted to it and liked it,” Mikkelson said. “So it sort of just became my thing.”

Since then, Mikkelson has sported bow ties in different styles and colors to his shifts at the coffee shop. Starbucks allows employees to express themselves in their outfits at work as long as they wear subdued colors and keep their aprons clean, according to their dress code online. Whenever his district manager comes in, they always make a point of checking out which bow tie Mikkelson is wearing, he said.

Mikkelson said he enjoys working at the Starbucks in Blaine because of the wide variety of customers he gets to meet.

“We have a lot of really sweet regulars that come in all the time and being right next to the border crossing, I get to meet a lot of travelers which is really interesting,” he said.

He’s also appreciated getting to know the owners of the Skye Hill property, Mike and Skye Hill, who have also noticed his signature style.

“They even got me this one for Christmas, which is custom engraved and has my name on it,” Mikkelson said.

He points to the one he’s wearing which is a piece of wood in the shape of a bow tie, held in place with navy and white polka-dot fabric.

When Mikkelson isn’t working at Starbucks, he likes to spend time hanging out with friends or meeting new people.

“I’m definitely an extrovert in that way, whether it’s hiking or going out for food, I just prefer that kind of thing over sitting in my room,” he said.

Customers can check out what styles of bow ties Mikkelson is showing off most days during his shifts at Starbucks.

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