Scooters Coffee coming to Charles City, in former Hunan spot
By Bob Steenson, firstname.lastname@example.org
A new drive-thru coffee, pastry and sandwich shop will be coming to Charles City this fall, taking a spot in the location where the Hunan Chinese Buffet restaurant was located.
Scooters Coffee will be located on the corner of Gilbert Street and Freeman Street, with construction to begin after the Hunan building is removed and the spot cleared. Demolition of that building began Wednesday.
Robb Steffes said this will be the seventh Scooters that he and his partner, Josh Morris, will have opened through their company, Blu Water Brew, of Arnolds Park.
He said they picked Charles City because it’s the type of community that the Scooters Coffee franchise seems to do well in.
“It’s a little bit of what I’d call a coffee desert in terms on no real drive-thru competition in the area,” Steffes told the Press. “We found, and Scooters has found, that the smaller communities really do show well. It’s a need in the community.”
He said the plan is to open in early November.
The company features hot and cold coffee and tea drinks, smoothies, lemonade, pastries, breakfast sandwiches and burritos. It also has what it calls blenders — coffee drinks blended with ice cream.
“I guess the tag line for Scooters is we provide amazing drinks, amazingly fast, by our amazing people,” Steffes said.
The new building to be constructed will be a 632-square-foot kiosk, with one drive-thru lane. There will be no indoor seating.
The business will be open every day except Christmas, Steffes said. The hours for the Charles City location have not been set yet, but they typically run from about 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“We’ll have a full-time salaried manager and some full-time staff and some part-time staff,” he said. “Twelve to 15, depending on how many are part time and how many are full time.”
Steffes said Scooters Coffee began in Omaha in 1998. He was from Omaha and was very familiar with the brand and the products.
Now, Scooters Coffee is one of the nation’s fastest-growing franchises, with a goal of having 1,000 locations open by 2024, he said.
“They’re looking to get very dense throughout the upper and lower Midwest, but Scooters does have franchises all over the country, in nearly every state now,” he said.
Steffes and his partner currently have Scooters in Arnolds Park, Spencer, Spirit Lake and Clear Lake in Iowa, and in Fairmont and Worthington in Minnesota.
In addition to the store in Charles City, they are also planning to open a Scooters Coffee in Estherville and Mason City, and in Austin, Minnesota, as well as three locations in Texas.
“It’s exciting — an exciting business — and we’re looking forward to getting open in Charles City,” Steffes said. “I think that’s an excellent location there. I think we’re lucky to get that location. I think there will a lot of great traffic and visibility there, so we’re excited to be there.”
He said the current Gilbert Street access for the property will be closed because it’s too close to the intersection, but there will be a new Gilbert Street access, and access will also still be available from Freeman Street.
The company has a lease for the north half of the former Hunan lot, Steffes said. The other half of the lot is available.
According to Floyd County records, the lot was purchased earlier this month by HD Development LLC, from the former Hunan owners, Mei Hau Zhong, Shui Guan Wang and Hui Zhuang.
The deed filed in the Floyd County Recorder’s Office lists HD Development’s address as Hawarden, Iowa, but also says it is a South Dakota limited liability company.