Don and Linda Eckles founded Scooter’s Coffee in Bellevue, Neb in 1998. The name comes from the original owners’ idea that customers are happy when they can “get in and out” quickly with their coffee. Now it has hundreds of locations across the United States.
Keith Homstead and John Robertson, the owners of the new Grand Forks location, hope their cafe will be ready for opening day on October 11th. It is located at 1111 S. Washington St. in the old Taco John location.
So why coffee? Homstead said it was a relatively low risk company if you could call opening a business low risk for a very simple reason:
“Everyone loves coffee, right?” Said Homstead. “That’s one of those things. It never really goes out of style. You always see these restaurants and fashions coming through and very few of them actually stay long scooters have them open and they have very, very low error rates. ”
This isn’t Homstead’s first venture. He founded Alloy Engineering in 2016, which provides HVAC services, building modeling, project and construction management, package deals, and more.
Homstead met the co-owner of his scooter, John Robertson, when they were employees in the same factory. Robertson was a factory controller and Homstead was an engineer. From then on, they started talking about their ambitions to become entrepreneurs.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped their efforts. In fact, the location’s success as Taco Johns during the pandemic played a role in the decision to open a coffee shop there.
“To be honest, that was one of the main factors that worked for us,” said Homstead. “The numbers and the way their model was designed is that they are designed to be a drive-through kiosk. We chose a coffee shop because buying Taco John’s gave us the opportunity. ”
Seeing the Taco Johns thrive during the pandemic was one of the main reasons Homstead and Robertson were so sure to open a full service coffee shop in this special location.
“That was great,” said Homstead. “We knew we had to be either delivery, drive-through, or as contactless as possible, so this was a good choice for us. Ultimately, we hope that Scooter’s Coffee will be a stepping stone for other endeavors that we would also like to pursue. “
Homstead had to visit a Scooter’s Coffee location and attend training to open a new location. He learned about all of the things the company sells, including what surprised him the most – a wide variety of beverages other than hot coffee, including iced coffee beverages, smoothies, and more.
“They have waffle sandwiches too,” Homstead said. “I would almost compare it to an Egg McMuffin. Everything they serve there is really built for speed. That is their big driver. With the numbers I’ve seen, it usually takes a minute to a minute and 30 seconds for you to place your order and have your food and be on your way. “
Homstead also announced that hopefully this new location won’t be the only one he and Robertson are opening in the area. They plan to open two new locations – another in Grand Forks and one in Crookston.
“The problem is that currently everyone is buying out locations (Scooter’s Coffee) from abroad,” said Homstead. “One is being built in Fergus Falls and there is one in Thief River Falls. I think they are locally owned. Everywhere else, lots of people come from Colorado and buy places in the northern Midwest. ”