Derrek Kaier said the line into his Ziggi’s Coffee drive-thru location was backed up onto 20th Street on Tuesday afternoon during the location’s grand opening.
Kaier estimated almost 2,400 people visited Ziggi’s that day to try the new spot’s free coffee. The concept isn’t new, with about 15 drive-thru coffee locations already situated in the Greeley and Windsor area. There are nine Human Bean locations in the Greeley and Windsor area, just three fewer than in the Portland area. In the past three years, Nate Frary has opened up Dutch Bros. Coffee locations in Greeley, Windsor, Loveland and Fort Collins. But the lines Tuesday at Ziggi’s seemed to suggest people can’t get enough coffee.
More coffee on the way
Scooter’s Coffee, based in Omaha, Neb., is planning locations in Greeley and Windsor. Todd Heasty, co-owner with his wife, Michelle, said the Greeley location, 2530 11th Ave., should open in late April or early May. A Windsor location, for which some planning still needs to be finalized, could arrive by early or mid-2020, Heasty said.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2018-19 forecast “Coffee: World Markets and Trade,” global consumption of coffee is expected to rise by 3.3 million 60-kilogram bags to a record 163.6 million bags. That comes out to about 1.17 trillion cups of coffee. Served side-by-side in average coffee mugs, about four inches by four inches, 1.17 trillion cups of coffee would take up about 295 million square miles, or 2,835 Colorados. By comparison, the surface area of the world is estimated to be 196.9 million square miles.
But that doesn’t mean just anyone can open a coffee stand. A handful of coffee stands have come and gone in northern Colorado in the past decade. Coffee shop owners need to find the right place, one where there’s a demand for coffee that isn’t already being met, and make a strong impression in a short window of interaction with the customer.
Kaier said Ziggi’s works to give a friendly, memorable visit from the moment a customer drives through to the last sip of the coffee they ordered. The aim is similar at Human Bean, where Director of Operations Jenae Nequette said the company culture can be communicated in just seconds.
“It’s simply recognition,” Nequette said. “Recognition for what the customer needs; recognition for what our community needs and recognition across the board.”
Like the fast-food locations that sprouted up in the latter half of the 20th century, drive-thru coffee stands are catering to a society in search of more convenient ways to get what they want. Coffee stand owners hope to meet the customers where they are, while maintaining the friendliness and quality people expect from their favorite coffee place. Nequette said that level of convenience sets coffee stands apart from coffeehouses, with each having their benefits to offer to a community.
“People are interested in convenience. We all have things to do,” Nequette said.
Though individual interactions might last seconds at a drive-thru coffee stand, companies do long-term work to establish a community presence, whether through philanthropy, volunteering or recognizing their repeat customers. Those kind of lasting connections help build loyal customers who are more likely to go out of their way to stands where they’re on a first-name basis with the baristas. On National Coffee Day, the Human Bean donated 100 percent of its drip coffee sales to the United Way of Weld and Larimer counties.
“We don’t just stick within our 500-square-foot stand. That’s a pretty small footprint, but we want to have a bigger footprint throughout the community,” Nequette said. “Anywhere there’s an area in the community for us to fill with coffee, we want to do it.”
Kaier said they’ve hit the ground running at Ziggi’s, as well, volunteering and donating coffee to nonprofit organizations, churches and charitable events. Having started in 2004 in Longmont, Ziggi’s distinguishes itself with a local focus, Kaier said.
“From our burritos down to our coffee roaster, Coda Coffee down in Denver, everything about Ziggi’s is Colorado,” he said.
A Windsor drive-thru Ziggi’s is projected to open early spring. Kaier said the more specialty coffee shops, the more people take notice of quality coffee — spurring continued growth for local and specialty coffee shops.
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