Oregon coffee chain Dutch Bros. eyes spot in Denver metro

Plans for a Dutch Bros. Cofee shop are brewing in the Denver metro area.

staff photo
A Dutch Bros. store in  Everett, Washington. (Courtesy of Dutch Bros.)

A Dutch Bros. store in Everett, Washington. (Courtesy of Dutch Bros.)

Plans for a Dutch Bros. Coffee shop are brewing in the Denver metro area.

The Oregon-based coffee company leased a spot late last year near Casa Bonita in Lakewood’s Lamar Station Plaza, according to Broad Street Realty. Dutch Bros. confirmed Friday that it hopes to open a spot in the shopping center.

“I want to reiterate that this could all still go sideways, as we are still waiting for permits,” said Jen Wheatley, company spokeswoman.

Dutch Bros. is the largest privately-held, drive-thru coffee chain in the U.S. with more than 260 locations and 6,500 to 7,000 employees in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Colorado.

Last year, Forbes called it a “coffee cult” turning “bro-istas” into wealthy franchisees. According to the business publication, Dutch Bros. has been trying to expand quickly, in part by creating a low barrier to entry for new owners.

Dave Szopa is the franchisee planning the spot in Lakewood and has been working with a Colorado Springs franchise for about five years.

There are four Dutch Bros. locations in Colorado Springs. A location in Loveland opened last summer and a Fort Collins Dutch Bros. opened in December.

Szopa said he hopes to open the store in Lakewood around September.

Dutch Bros. requires franchise owners to work at the company for at least three years and serve at least one year in a managerial role before opening their own spot.

The city of Lakewood didn’t immediately return a call about where Dutch Bros. is in the approval process.

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.