Scooter’s Coffee is a drive-thru regional coffee shop chain that will be joining the Kirksville community by mid-November this year. Scooter’s menu offers iced, hot or blended drinks and a variety of burritos, sandwiches and baked goods. The new coffee shop will be located at 1506 South Baltimore Street, the old site of Papa John’s that closed Jan. 2018.
The company contacted the City of Kirksville in pursuit of the building to buy and use for a new Scooter’s location, Assistant City Manager Ashley Young said. The Scooter’s property is currently owned by Mark Freiburg, but the Scooter’s location does not currently have a franchiser, Reid Yardely, Kirksville code enforcement director, said. Scooter’s is currently working with the Kirksville Codes and Planning Department to move forward with construction. The company along with the Kirksville Codes and Planning Department are doing a remodel of the existing building and making improvements to the parking lot. Currently, there is no set opening date for Scooter’s, Yardely said.
With new corporate businesses comes competition, Young said. “Rising tides raise all boats,” Young said. New business should boost the overall economy of Kirksville and Young said Scooter’s is no exception. A competitive dynamic already exists in Kirksville with Caffiend Fix Coffee and Starbucks, and so far Young said they seem to coexist peacefully. Young said competition brings unknown economic outcomes and business transitions, as seen with Petsense closing because of the addition of PetSmart in town, but he is curious to see how the new addition will impact existing businesses. Young said he does not think Scooter’s will harm local coffee businesses, but will instead help the overall economic structure, citing that Kirksville has never been as economically prosperous as it is this year.
“A successful, locally owned restaurant and coffee shop can be just as competitive in many respects and certainly just as enjoyable as a national chain,” Young said.
Young said despite his initial thoughts on new business in town and local competition, he cannot be certain of what new businesses will bring, believing that the market will dictate what happens next. Despite market tendencies, potential competitors of Scooter’s Coffee are confident with their business’ ability to stay stable.
Rayne Wells, owner of Caffiend Fix in the town square, believes there will be an initial downtick in sales because of the introduction of a new business. Caffiend Fix separates itself from other coffee businesses in town by having lounging areas and personalized drinks made from locally roasted beans, Wells said. “People who come in want to sit down and relax. They aren’t in a hurry to go, and that’s another reason I don’t think Scooter’s is going to affect us that much,” Wells said. Wells’ attributes the success of Caffiend Fix to its products and the business they receive by word of mouth, not from local competition. Caffiend Fix directly competed with Sweet Espressions, which closed last spring. Wells does not attribute Sweet Espressions closing to the competition between the two businesses, but he said he created his low prices to provide the best deal in town.
Wells said he thinks Scooter’s opening will affect the Hy-Vee Starbucks because of the drive-thru aspect of the new business. With winter coming, people will not want to get out of their cars, Wells said. Wells said he thinks the new Scooter’s will drop Starbucks’ sales numbers by a considerable amount, with a short-lived upset for Caffiend Fix.
Hy-Vee’s Store Director Scott Johnson is proud of the Starbucks’ brand and its huge following. Johnson explained there will likely be initial harm to Starbucks’ sales, especially with Scooter’s operating a drive-thru business, but he thinks the impact will be minimal on its area of business. Johnson said he is still confident Starbucks fans will be faithful to their business and he is hopeful they will be able to maintain current sales. Hy-Vee will remain focused on Starbucks’ sales instead of worrying about other new businesses, Johnson said.
“In the meantime, we will remain focused on all the traditional fall and holiday drinks that come out this time of year and are favorites with our customers,” Johnson said.
Regardless of the competition with Scooter’s opening, Young said he thinks the brand names of both Scooter’s and Starbucks will attract new visitors to the City of Kirksville.