Name of business: Dutch Bros Coffee
Type of business: Drive-thru coffee chain
Location: 1201 W. Monte Vista Ave., Turlock
Hours: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day
Contact information: 541-955-4700
Specialty: Philanthropic community outreach
History of business:
Dutch Bros Coffee opened its highly-anticipated Turlock location over the weekend, bringing java, jubilation and traffic jams to the corner of Monte Vista Avenue and Crowell Road.
The country’s largest privately-owned drive-thru coffee company began construction on its new location earlier this year and is one of several in the area owned and operated by Isaac and Amy Schaaf. The husband and wife also own the Dutch Bros in Oakdale, which coincidentally opened over Labor Day weekend last year, as well as the future Modesto location scheduled for an October opening.
Dutch Bros is known for its massive menu of drinks, which includes everything from coffee and smoothies to teas and sodas. There are over 10,000 drink combinations to choose from, but Isaac Schaaf noted that the Rebel Energy drinks and the seasonal crème brûlée pumpkin cold brew are among the shop’s best sellers.
According to Schaaf, he worked his way through the ranks within the coffee chain over the past nearly 15 years, most recently serving as a regional manager in Oregon where he helped franchisees run their own shops. When he saw the good different franchisees were able to do for their communities through their locations, he decided to join in on the fun.
“We thought this was a great opportunity for us down here to do the same thing — grow, spread love and help the community and children,” Schaaf said. “We also look at this as a great opportunity for us to coach our employees through their first or second job and help them grow into the people they want to be.”
The new Dutch Bros location in Turlock provided jobs for 61 employees, he added, who have done a “solid” job at handling long lines and astronomical demand throughout their first weekend on the job. With COVID putting a stop to walk-up orders at the location’s window, the drive-thru has been taxed with thirsty customers eager to get their hands on a Dutch Bros drink. On opening day, customers lined up as early as 3 a.m. to be among the first in line. Traffic from the drive-thru line has halted the flow of cars which typically make their way south down Crowell Road free of hazards, with drivers now forced to either wait behind the long line of vehicles or risk driving down the wrong side of the road.
Traffic is actually better than anticipated, Schaaf said. Dutch Bros asked for traffic control from the Turlock Police Department for opening day, but it was deemed unnecessary. The business was originally worried that their lines would hold up traffic on Monte Vista Avenue, but that problem was avoided by closing the entrance to Dutch Bros located on that side of the corner.
The line doesn’t seep into Crowell Road during less popular times, he added, and the coffee shop believes lines will move more quickly once employees become more familiar with the process — and once coronavirus restrictions are eased.
“I would bet within two weeks we’re going to be knocking these lines down and we won’t be in that road anymore,” Schaaf said.
Dutch Bros has always taken a philanthropic approach to its business model and Turlock’s new location will hold its first fundraiser “Buck for Kids” Sept. 18. Dutch Bros will donate one dollar from every drink sold that day to Verda’s House in Turlock, one of the sites for the Children’s Crisis Center of Stanislaus County.
“We want it to be fun and inviting, but the product that we’re actually selling is not coffee — it’s love and family,” Schaaf said. “We’re trying to create an atmosphere of community and we happen to serve coffee as well.”