For Peerless Coffee owners, business is a family labor of love

OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) -- For almost a century Peerless Coffee has been a part of Oakland, and since the beginning a Vukasin has been at the helm.

The family's story started back in the 1920's when John Vukasin emigrated from Yugoslavia and opened up the Peerless Coffee Company.

His son, George, took over although he admits he didn't want to at first.

"I wanted to be in the FBI," he admits, but he took it on with his wife Sonja at his side and "we've expanded half a dozen times around the neighborhood since then."

Vukasin has never left Oakand.

"We really don't want to, Oakland's been good to my family," he said. 

Today, the Vukasin's children, George Jr. and Kristina Broughard, run the family business.

George Vukasin Jr. spends his days drinking a lot of coffee, sometimes as many as 15 cups as he works to bring the perfect cup of coffee to customers. He calls it a labor of love.

"I love the taste I love the stories, I love the people I love it all," he says with a smile.

Broughard share's her brother's love of coffee.

"I have coffee in every meeting I go to here, I have coffee in every meeting I go to not at Peerless. Day or night, with my friends, I have coffee at sporting events, I bring a cup of coffee," she says.

Broughard left her job as a deputy district attorney to become Executive Vice President of the family business.

"I wanted to run my own company, I wanted to be my own boss but George is my boss so I'm not my own boss," she says with a laugh.

The Vukasin's say they enjoy coming into the office during the week but tell KTVU their kids are running the shop now.

"These kids are doing a better job than I, better than what Sonja and I did and we had pretty good years.  Times have changed and you have to adjust to it and of course the hardest thing I have is the computers," he said.

Sonja also has an impressive museum in the Oakland shop that is a history lesson in itself.  Her face lights up when she gives tours.

KTVU asked if her if she loved George before she loved coffee or coffee before she loved George, it turns out coffee runs deep in her blood too.

"I'm pure Norwegian," she explains "and we are coffee people we have always been all of our life, so it seemed like the perfect fit."

Peerless can be found in restaurants around the Bay Area and Vukasin calls the company smallish to medium with a bright future.

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