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News Articles
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Fresh Cup - the Voice of the Speciality Beverage Industry, February 2006

"Why Wi-fi?
Pros and cons of a wireless cafe"

By Kristine Hansen


<excerpted>
Some people in the industry , however, see no problem with offering free wireless Internet access, believing that if a customer can pay for a mocha and owns a laptop, they can probably order a second drink, too.

Dave Olson, minister of marketing at Zhonka, in Olympia, Wash, sell DSL Internet connections to a variety of companies (mostly cafes) in Olympia and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Cafe managers then turn around and offer wireless Internet to their coffee and tea sipping customers at no cost. "For us, it's a good marketing ploy," he says. "It promotes us in the community and puts out a lot of marketing goodwill. A year or so ago, it was mostly pay-per-use. Now people are drifting more toward doing the free thing."

With an Internet line and a piece of hardware that processes the signal, cafes can be up and running in no time. The initial set-up cost is between $30 and $50, according to Olson.

He believes pay-per-use Internet access turns customers off because they have to spend time entering their credit card information onto a home page and might have to make immediate decisions about the number of minutes or months they want to subscribe. Also, the fee to jump on the Internet might seem silly to some people when they have plunked down money for a mocha and pastry, and perhaps plugged a parking meter for the time they are in the cafe. "You're already in there paying for premium beverage and a place to sit, " says Olson.


Re-printed from The Olympian - FRONTPAGE : » News Published Dec. 16, 2005

Wireless Net links spread
Libraries join Wi-Fi trend

BY KATHERINE TAM, THE OLYMPIAN

<excerpted>

Free wireless access began popping up downtown about three years ago, when Dave Olson and Jacob Stewart launched Zhonka Broadband. They were looking to join with cafes to provide free Internet access. They started out by asking merchants they knew.

“People said ‘What are you talking about? Who's going to use it? This is nuts,' ” Olson said. “But they said ‘OK.' ”

New customers
The idea took off. The clientele changed at the 4th Ave. Tav, where people began coming in at the noon hour for lunch and free Wi-Fi, he said. Today, the laptop has become a fixture in coffee shops.

“It creates a third place,” Olson said. “You've got your office and your home. Sometimes you need to get away from the distractions and escape.”

Wi-Fi hot spots aren't widely publicized — though Zhonka publishes a list online — but people have found a way to locate them. Banner said she looks for the distinctive “Zhonka” sticker in shop windows or looks for other laptop users. Word has spread through word of mouth for Caffe Vita, Fink said.

Read entire article at The Olympian (new window)


Re-printed from The Olympian - Business Briefs- Tuesday May 31, 2005

Olympia, Seattle ranked tops for Net customers

Popular Science magazine ranked Seattle and Olympia as number one and two respectively for having the highest national percentage of Internet customers.

The magazine credited the cities' relatively high number of free wireless access points as a major reason for the high rankings. It also credited the two cities for bucking a national trend for wireless hotspots to charge users a fee for the service.

Olympia-based Zhonka Broadband maintains several free wireless spots in the South Sound region. Company spokesman Dave Olson said it allows the company to showcase its high-speed DSL technology while businesses with the hotspots find that they help to attract customers.

Read entire article at The Olympian (new window)


Wi-Fi - Business Examiner - 5/1/05 Paul Schrag - Coming Shortly ...


Re-printed from The Olympian (pdf) - 03/20/05 - Business Forecast article by Chris Clough

Private sector offers unique challenges

<excerpted>

Professional service businesses typically are fairly small. Zhonka Broadband is in that category.  "As an Internet service provider, our main product is a utility, and as such, we think people are always going to need access," Zhonka's Dave Olson said. Zhonka also hosts Web sites.

Zhonka essentially is a two-person operation that also relies on the help of interns and friends from time to time.Olson, who previously co-owned OlyWa.net before selling it to California-based Advanced TelCom Group, is optimistic about its prospects.  "When we got back into the market two and a half years ago, it was a downtime for the economy," Olson said.

"So everything has been better than that. We've had good, consistent growth. A lot of what we see are new, small business start-ups. One of the first things they need is a domain name."

"Really, we can work from anywhere," Olson said.  "But we have our home base in Olympia because we know the market and enjoy living here."

Read entire article at The Olympian (new window)


South Sound Internet Mogul in it for the Glory - Business Examiner newspaper's "Fishbowl" - 6/28/04

Zhonka Broadband Secretary General Jacob Stewart says he runs an Olympia-based Internet Service Provider for the glory.  "I started my current business with an eye toward making a living," Stewart says, "not striking it rich."

Stewart is no novice to the Internet game. He started OlyWa.Net in 1995. That first company grew quickly and was netting some $1 million a year before merging with Advanced Telecom Group in 2000.

After the OlyWa.Net merger, Stewart says he took a much needed break from the hectic day-to-day stress of building and running a tech company.  "I needed time to decompress," he says.

That break didn't last long. In the wake of the Internet boom, Stewart decided to build a leaner, more efficient business. With the help of a small team of investors, Stewart created Zhonka in 2003.

The life of an entrepreneur can be tough, Stewart says. Entrepreneurs should be prepared for long hours, hard work, planning and perseverance. But that doesn't mean he doesn't love his job.  "To any would-be entrepreneur I'd say go for it," Stewart says, "And don't let anybody tell you it can't be done."


Zhonka co-founders on 40 under 40 List - 6/23/03 - Business Examiner

Feature articles by Paul Schrag from Business Examiner details achievements by 40 area business leaders under 40 years of age including Zhonka's Jacob Stewart and Dave Olson.  More about Business Examiner's 40 under 40.


Entrepreneurs create local ISP - (pdf) 3/21/03 - The Olympian

Article by Alex Goff for the Olympian about Zhonka's plans. Features picture of Zhonka co-founders, Jay Stewart and Dave Olson, enjoying wireless Internet access at the Clubside Cafe with proprietor Kenny Trobman.


Steve Bloom/The Olympian

Entire article no longer avilable at The Olympian


OlyWa office empty - (pdf) 05/28/02 - The Olympian

Article by Scott Wyland from The Olympian foreshadows start-up of Zhonka, "Olson and other OlyWa team members plan to launch a company called Zhonka Broadband, which will offer DSL to customers throughout Western Washington, with the focus being on South Sound."


Steve Bloom/The Olympian

Entire article no longer avilable at The Olympian


ATG purchased - (pdf) 06/06/02 - The Olympian

Scott Wyland from The Olympian article again mentions Zhonka entering the market, "Former OlyWa employee Dave Olson, also unavailable for comment, has said he wants to launch an ISP called Zhonka Broadband, which would offer high-speed connections to Web users."

Entire article no longer avilable at The Olympian


Candid Conversation with Dave Olson - (pdf) 03/04/02 - Business Examiner

Q & A with Kamila McClelland of the Business Examiner and Zhonka co-founder Dave Olson discussing mergers, Internet marketing, and new business plans.


See also: Press Releases





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Last modified March 7, 2006