To-go coffee house drives into Lakewood

A Dutch Bros. outpost in Everett, Washington. The company plans to break ground in July on its first location in the Denver metro area. (Courtesy Dutch Bros.)

A Dutch Bros. outpost in Everett, Washington. The company plans to break ground in July on its first location in the Denver metro area. (Courtesy Dutch Bros.)

Drive-thru coffee is coming to West Colfax.

Oregon-based Dutch Bros. Coffee, which entered Colorado Springs in 2009 and has six locations statewide, is planning a new store near Casa Bonita in Lakewood. It’s the first of as many as seven locations franchisee David Szopa could open west of Denver.

“Colfax is a pretty popular road from east to west,” said Szopa. “We wanted the first one in Denver to be in a good populated area that will continue to grow and flourish.”

Construction on the coffee house will begin in July, with the store’s opening slated for September.

Szopa, who has worked for Dutch Bros. since 2006 and manages its four Colorado Springs locations, set his sights on Denver about three years ago. He signed a lease on the property at 6601 W. Colfax Ave. last November.

Plans call for a 450-square-foot interior, with a single-lane drive-thru window, a patio for outdoor seating and a walk-up window, Szopa said. The coffee hut does not have indoor seating.

Szopa estimates building costs will be $400,000, which he is funding with his own money and money from Dutch Bros. headquarters. He still is taking bids from contractors. In-house architects at Dutch Bros. designed the building. Szopa plans to hire 30 employees to staff the coffee house.

And the franchisee has no intention to stop there: Szopa wants to open a new store every year for the next three years. His franchise territory runs west of Broadway from Colfax to Englewood, and all the way to Highway 470. His franchise agreement will let him open up to seven Dutch Bros. locations.

Szopa said there are four other Dutch Bros. franchising territories in the Denver area, each with the potential for three to seven stores.

In addition to Szopa’s locations in Colorado Springs, two Dutch Bros. north of Denver — in Loveland and in Fort Collins — sprouted up last year.

“We’ve always had a pretty good slow growth policy,” said Szopa. “Coming to a new state like this, we do not want to get lost in a major city… we wanted to make sure we made a name for ourselves.”

Dutch Bros. opened in 1992 in Grants Pass, Oregon and has since expanded to approximately 260 locations in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Colorado.

Dutch Bros. drinks — mainly flavored lattes and mochas — cost $3.75 for a 12-ounce cup, $4.25 for a 16-ounce and $5.25 for a 20-ounce. The company also serves light snacks, tea and its own energy drink.

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2 years ago

I just want to ask why you are not coming to Belmar in Lakewood, Colorado…it is a coffee haven and would be a plus for people here instead of driving to Colfax…research the area and hope to see you soon…