The Business of Relationships
By Kayli Corbin
Photography by Kimberlee Miller
As consumers, and more importantly as humans, we chose to invest time and money at the places that fuel us. Whether your desired fuel is caffeine, community involvement, or a next-level personal interaction, Dutch Bros. is here to provide you with just what you need. Brian Wight and his wife, Libby, have been sharing Dutch Bros. culture and adding fuel to the Treasure Valley since 2007.
The Wight’s story begins at a Dutch Bros. in Bend, Oregon. They both started as baristas working to make ends meet and get through college. They met during overlapping shifts and instantly hit it off. Their Dutch love was fueled by their passion for the culture that Dutch Bros. creates. Before they knew it, they were both managers at separate locations, and it was the logical decision to open a franchise as Brian approached graduation. Depending on which Wight you ask, you’ll get a different answer on whose idea it was to start this journey, but we’re sure glad they did.
In February 2007, the Dutch Bros. on Chinden launched with a two-day grand opening. They offered free coffee for these two days and had a line almost reaching their neighbor, Fred Meyers. The Wight’s were ecstatic and convinced they had made the right decision. The morning following their grand debut, Brian told Greenbelt Magazine there were practically tumbleweeds rolling in the drive-through. Everyone loves free coffee, and Boise hadn’t had the chance to fall in love with the Dutch Bros. experience.
The next year and a half were filled with hard work, feet hitting the ground, and the opening of two new locations. Brian, Libby, and their employees would take free samples and stickers to the traffic waiting on Chinden. They made sure each cup was offered with a smile and a taste of what makes Dutch Bros. so great— personality. Brian shared “The beginning times were tough for Libby and me. The customers simply were not coming in. We had many sleepless nights wondering if we had made a bad decision bringing the Dutch Bros franchise to Idaho. Ultimately, we had to rely on what I call “Blind Faith” in the culture of what Dutch Bros is! Dutch Bros culture is amazingly unique and truly something to stand behind in good times and bad!”
Dutch Bros. is now a staple in the Valley. Those of us who have experienced the Dutch mentality know that “it’s about people, fun, music, and great coffee!” Brian and Libby now own 10 locations in Boise and have two more in the works. Their shop on 8th and Main St. opened December of last year and is one of the only locations without a drive-through. Rest assured it isn’t lacking any of the allure a traditional Dutch Bros. has. Great music is playing, the vibe is upbeat and positive, and the coffee is amazing.
The original Dutch Bros. was founded in 1992 in Grants Pass, Oregon by Dane and Travis Boersma. These brothers of Dutch descent started on a dairy farm with a double-head espresso machine and now boast the title of the country’s largest, privately held drive-thru coffee company. The company as a whole donates over $2 million a year to its local communities and nonprofit organizations. “With its loyal customer base dubbed the Dutch Mafia, Dutch Bros Coffee continues to grow, and, wherever it does, the love, donations and smiles grow also.”
One of the most admirable aspects of Dutch culture is their Love Abounds Foundation. Dutch Bros. “sees a world where all people are smiling. The people in communities we serve hold the power to create opportunities for themselves and others.” The mission of this foundation is to put people first. They strive to engage communities through giving and action in four core areas: youth, music, health, and origins. Everything from the place where the coffee beans are grown to accessible music programs are touched by their positive impact.
The specialty days also make a huge community impact. Dutch Luv Day happens every year on Valentines Day. All locations donate $1 from every drink sold to a local food organization. Drink One for Dane is a day where the Dutch Mafia celebrates co-founder Dane Boersma. In 2005, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS. “Dane passed away in late 2009, but he left behind a legacy which, to this day, the company bases its daily decisions. His memory continues to inspire everyone at Dutch Bros. Inspiration to give it their all, love every person they encounter and do more for others than for themselves.” These are just a few examples of the amazing ways that Dutch Bros. participates in their community and works towards a better world each day.
Each member of the team at Dutch Bros. contributes something unique and special to the culture. This leaves us wondering: how do they find the best of the best? The answer is in their hiring process. It’s no surprise that their interviews are one big party! In true Dutch Bros. fashion, their group interviews are looking for the most bubbly and personable attitudes in the room. Brian told Greenbelt that his hiring process is all about personality. He’s confident in his team’s ability to teach someone how to make coffee, but he can’t teach them how to have a dynamic personality.
For those of you who haven’t experienced the Dutch Bros. culture, I strongly urge you to stop at one of their many locations throughout the Boise. You are guaranteed a phenomenal customer service experience, the opportunity to give back to your community, and a tasty coffee. We all need fuel at one point or another, and Dutch Bros. is here to serve it up with a smile.
For more details about charitable causes, menu details, and to find a location near you check out https://www.dutchbros.com/