Where Something’s Always Brewing.
GRANTS PASS, OR – “Espresso! It’s like coffee on steroids,” said Travis Boersma, who first proposed the idea of a coffee stand to his brother. “We should sell espresso.” And with those words, Dutch Bros was born and has since grown from a simple pushcart to more than 325 locations in Oregon, California, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona.
Even though friends thought the Boersma brothers were crazy at the idea of opening a coffee business, they got busy realizing their dream. They started out with a simple pushcart in Grants Pass, offering high-quality coffee, loud music, lots of smiles and incredible speed at pulling shots for eager customers. Soon, crowds lined up before they opened, and with their business flourishing, they opened a second location. Inspiration struck again. What about a drive-up, they wondered? Over the years, Dane and Travis adjusted their business model to best serve their customers, and they expanded their operation to other communities.
But the brothers ultimately faced a new crisis and a new opportunity. In 2004, their warehouse burned down, and the beans, roasters, the office and everything they had built, went up in smoke. Luckily, no one was injured. When the community stepped up to help, Dane and Travis realized the company was more than beans and a facility. It was about the relationships and the goodwill they had built with the community. Just as they sorted themselves out from the fire, tragedy struck again. Dane was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS, or better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Instead of knocking the brothers down, they started Drink One for Dane to raise funds for ALS. This is one of the biggest events of the year for the company and has provided over $4.8 million to fight the disease.
Unfortunately, Dane, who set audacious goals for the company and inspired everyone including his brother, succumbed to ALS in 2009. Dane’s can-do spirit and passion lives on and has become part of the DNA of Dutch Bros.
Baristas, or “broistas” as they are called, have that same infectious optimism as they greet customers and create a buzz over the company’s coffee. And the spirit of brother helping brother and community members helping community members has grown even stronger. “Coffee is our avenue to connect with people,” says Kambria Sauer, who focuses on supporting employees at Dutch Bros. “A lot of our customers become our friends.”
The company’s commitment to its employees runs deep and provides one of the strongest bonds in the Dutch Bros culture. Employees of Dutch Bros, who have worked at the company for at least three years and have been a manager for at least one year, have the unique opportunity to operate their own franchise. This is an opportunity that is only extended to Dutch Bros employees and is part of the community-oriented spirit of the company. Sometimes Travis, the co-founder, has been known to trade places with the employees. The company, the largest privately held drive-thru coffee company in the United States, was featured on the reality TV show Undercover Boss, where Travis slipped into the role of a rank-and-file employee. Among other things, Travis journeyed to El Salvador to work on a coffee plantation where the company purchases beans.
As Dutch Bros became more popular, customers have been excited by the exclusive line of clothing, cups and other accessories, which are sold online at shop.dutchbros.com.
The tradition of giving back to the community has continued to grow, and the Dutch Bros’ Love Abounds Foundation vision pursues the goal where all people are smiling, and everyone realizes they have the power to create their own opportunities. The company has four giveback days a year. Dutch Luv raises food for the hungry. Drink One for Dane continues the fight against ALS by supporting families confronted with the disease. Buck for Kids allows franchises and their communities to support a children’s organization. BCA Day allows customers to help raise money to fight breast cancer. Dutch Bros Coffee was ranked by J.D. Power and Associates as highest in customer satisfaction compared to other coffee companies in its 2012 and 2013 Specialty Coffee Retailer Satisfaction Report(SM). It’s not surprising that Dutch Bros has been on the Portland Business Journal fastest-growing private company’s list in Oregon for the past several years.
Dutch Bros continues to make meaningful and successful connections with its customers and its employees one cup at a time. According to Sauer, “if you have happy employees then success will follow.”
300 N Valley Dr.,
Grants Pass, OR 97526
Print Version: Where Something’s Always Brewing. | Dutch Bros