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GUEST INFORMATION 01-27-2014
7:10 Ian Freeman from KMED's early evening show 8-10pm Free Talk Live. We talked about Keene N.H.'s attack of Ian and his associates for "Robin-Hooding", plugging coins into expired parking meters ahead of the "Parking Enforcers". Read more HERE.
7:40 Anthony Melchiorri from the Travel Channel's "Hotel Impossible". I love his show, and the 4th season premieres tonight at 10pm.
8:10 Dr. Dennis Powers "Visiting Past and Present" History segement and a fun one:
Dutch Brothers Coffee
By Dennis Powers
In 1992, 38-year-old Dane Boersma was wondering what to do. A Grants Pass dairy farmer for fifteen years, he had learned that Oregon’s enacted environmental law changes mandated he spend $150,000 to protect the creek that ran through his pasture, as well as needing to get rid of half of his herd. He had graduated from Grants Pass High School, attended the University of Oregon, worked on the Alaskan pipeline, operated a Dairy Queen franchise, and now was raising a family on the farm.
As he pondered his choices after the dairy’s close, his 21-year-old brother, Travis, had come from going to Ashland’s Southern Oregon State College. Seeing the problem that they were facing, Travis talked Dane into thinking about selling espresso. They talked to the owner of the local Coffee Corner coffee shop, Paul Leighton, who gave them coffee, sold them a two-handled espresso machine, and spent one day in the milking shed of the dairy barn, explaining to them how to make the coffee.
Inside their empty milk house, they experimented in making coffee drinks for their friends. After using up a hundred pounds of coffee and handing out the free samples of flavored coffee, the two headed to downtown Grants Pass with a mobile espresso pushcart. Given the Dutch-derivation of their last name, the two named their venture as the “Dutch Brother’s Coffee Company,” or as shortened, “Dutch. Bros. Coffee (‘DBC’).”
After their first cart, they discovered that their approach and coffee was popular. Their one cart turned into five carts; then the carts were replaced by standing kiosks, and finally they opened a coffee house on D Street in Grants Pass. As the coffee craze for lattes, espressos, cappuccinos, mochas, and other coffee drinks swept through Grants Pass, the region, and the country, their business began to grow with additional locations. As to the dairy farm, Dane converted it into the Dutcher Creek Golf Course.
From the start, the two Boersma brothers painstakingly went over every detail on how to make a fine cup of coffee. The roasted their coffee by hand, blended it the same way, and then ground it in making the coffee by hand. The brothers worked with local suppliers to ensure quality and commitment to their products. They worked long and hard hours, but expected only the best. The company roasted (and still does) all of its own coffee, and from the beginning, the owners focused conservatively on how best to grow their business: drive through coffee shops. They concentrated on owning their own locations, not franchising.
It wasn’t until ten years later that DBC emphasized the franchising of the operation, where it contracted to allow another to own their business, but operate under DBC’s trade name and follow their guidelines, in exchange for a fee and continuing royalty. In 2005, DBC had opened its 75th coffee stand in Sutherlin, Oregon (Douglas County). It was employing then up to 700 people, usually 20- to 25-year-olds.
Dane Boersma tragically discovered prior to then that he had Lou Gehrig’s disease, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (“ALS”), which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Shortly afterwards, the company started up a website at danesdrive.org with the Muscular Dystrophy Association to raise money for ALS research. After battling the disease for 5-1/2 years, Dane died in 2009 at age 55.
As DBC continued on, other coffee shops competed against it. The giant Starbucks opened up new stores nationally and in this region. Of note in this area was The Human Bean. Opening its first store in Ashland in 1998, this business moved to today owning and operating twelve company stores. Its most significant growth came through franchising with 49 locations in seven states. Starting with a six-foot cart in 1992 in downtown Medford, Salvatore Mellelo’s operation grew to a 6,000 square-foot roastry and two retail operations. And there are others in the area.
Although the later tough economic times held DBC’s expansion back for a few years, it picked up steam and presently there are over 200 locations operating in Oregon, California, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona. Two years before, CNN had ranked it as the sixth fastest growing coffee chain in the country.
The company’s focus is on drive-through coffee shops, and it is the country’s largest privately held, drive-through coffee chain. Dutch Bros. gives back 1 percent of gross sales to its communities, which last year totaled $1 million to nonprofit organizations, including local food banks, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, American Cancer Society, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
The Boersma brothers rode the coffee wave, but it was their focusing more on people than the bottom line, with a desire to transform lives rather than conducting transactions, that was responsible for this success. The company roasts well in excess of a million pounds of coffee beans a year. J.D. Power and Associates in 2012 ranked Dutch Bros. Coffee as highest in customer satisfaction compared to other coffee companies in its Specialty Coffee Retailer Satisfaction Report.
The sophisticated coffees available today run from ordering “one breve, extra hot, sugar-free vanilla” to mochas and fruit smoothies. Customer can order not only specialty coffee drinks, but also freezes, teas and even energy drinks. Lines of cars pull up every morning, as regular customers wait patiently for their first hit of caffeine. The competition is fierce.
Regardless of this, the personal approach brought by the Boersma brothers to their business is the reason why Dutch Bros. Coffee continues to stand out--and it is still headquartered in Grants Pass.
Sources: Amber Morgan, “Dutch Bros: America’s sixth fastest growing coffee chain,” The Examiner, October 1, 2011, at Founding of Business; Greg Stiles, “Dutch Bros. puts quality first,” Mail Tribune, November 30, 2005, at Franchising; Amy Hsuan, “Dutch Bros. Coffee co-founder dies,” Oregonian, October 15, 2009, at Dane Boersma and Start-Up; “Dutch Bros. Coffee: About Us,” at Company Website; Dennis M. Powers, “Good Coffee Comes to the Rogue Valley,” Jefferson Public Radio: As It Was,” February 3, 2010, at Good Coffee.
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