Coffee, Dutch Bros. style
DUTCH BROS. COFFEE
Headquarters: Grants Pass, Ore.
Drive-thru sites: 260+
Existing Nevada locations: 2 in Carson City, 1 in Las Vegas
Reno sites: 7250 S. Virginia St. and 4555 S. Virginia St.
The business of coffee is hot — and about to get hotter — in Reno.
Two years after initial reports that Oregon-based Dutch Bros. Coffee would plant its windmill and tulip-adorned flag in the Truckee Meadows, construction on two drive-thru sites in south Reno is progressing fast for brew-loving motorists.
There are no dates yet for opening or submitting job applications, but corporate officials are zeroing in on the end of the year, if not sooner, for coffee sales to start.
On its Facebook page, Dutch Bros South Reno says, “Next thing you know, we will be serving up a party for all of Reno!”
At 7250 S. Virginia St. across from the Dolan Lexus dealership at Green Acres Drive, the walls are up and outside work is well along.
Less than two miles to the north, at 4555 S. Virginia St., where Kumle Lane meets Virginia across from the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, grading has been ongoing with vertical construction set to begin soon on the second Dutch Bros. Coffee outlet.
Both sites proclaim “The Dutch Are Coming!” in blue banners facing onto South Virginia Street.
The area is home to many opportunities for a cup of coffee, whether via drive-thru or in a sit-down setting, and the two Dutch Bros. Coffee sites anchor the northern and southern ends of a key commercial — and heavily traveled — corridor.
Within their geographic embrace lie the convention center with its tourism and events-based customer draw and the sprawling Meadowood retail and office complex.
Up and down South Virginia Street, drive-thru competition for coffee drinkers is already being waged with Starbucks and The Human Bean. Over the broader Reno-Sparks map, the proliferation in recent years of places to buy a cup from your car seat or at a table has been remarkable, from locally owned upstarts to nationally recognized brands.
University of Nevada, Reno economist Mark Pingle isn’t surprised; the surging economy is putting more money in people’s pockets and coffee is a popular target for those dollars.
“Coffee shops, breweries, it makes total sense,” Pingle said. “When the economy’s healthy, they’re healthy. Paying as much as $5 for coffee is kind of a splurge, so you’ve got to be doing pretty well.”
Jenn Wheatly, Dutch Bros. Coffee spokeswoman in Grants Pass, Ore., said South Virginia Street offers high visibility for the Dutch Bros. brand. She said the two Reno franchises are owned and operated by Matt Deacon and each will employ 20 to 25 people.
Deacon could not be reached for comment for this report. But its Facebook page, Dutch Bros South Reno alludes to further growth to meet the regional market, answering one hopeful north Reno reader’s query by saying, “North Reno is sure in our sights for the future.”
Wheatly said the company is always open to growth, adding:
“Certainly we’ll be watching to see the growth in Reno, so there could be more locations, but nothing is in the works now.”
In addition to the ubiquitous Starbucks, with 36 locations in Reno-Sparks and more in Carson City, Dayton, Fernley and the Tahoe-Truckee area, Dreamer’s, Hub, Kona Gold, Swill, Bibo, Lighthouse, Java Bean, The Jungle and Peet’s are among the other high-profile brands in the greater Reno-Sparks area’s coffee market.
Now comes Dutch Bros., a fixture on the Pacific Northwest coffee map with roots in southern Oregon. There, brothers Dane and Travis Boersma, third-generation dairy famers of Dutch descent, first experimented with an espresso machine on a pushcart in downtown Grants Pass in 1992.
The company website conveys the brothers’ humor in looking back at their post-farming success.
On the company history page, Dane Boersma says, “One of the most rewarding things in this change of occupation was going from smelling cow manure to smelling coffee. You’d open the bag, and it was like heaven.”
That was the genesis for Dutch Bros. Coffee, and 27 years later, the enterprise operates more than 260 franchises in seven states: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada, with two existing sites in Carson City, on Carson Street south of the Capitol and, most recently, on East William Street near the Interstate 580 freeway, and one in Las Vegas with another in the works.
According to the Dutch Bros. website, the company is the nation’s largest privately owned drive-thru coffee purveyor with more than 5,000 employees.
The company also says it donates over $2 million a year to its local communities and nonprofit organizations, including the Muscular Dystrophy Association in honor of co-founder Dane Boersma who died in 2009 after a four-year battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Christal Park Keegan’s professional experience includes working as an attorney for the National Judicial College in Reno and for the Chapman Law Firm in Northern Nevada.