There’s a lot to like about Dutch Bros., the incredibly popular chain of coffee shops that feature high-strung employees and equally wired customers. We’re thrilled for any company that can compete with the Starbucks empire, and the folks behind Dutch Bros. just seem like great people. (Read this Forbes article for more insight about the company’s history.)
Given all that, you’d think we’d be ecstatic about the new Dutch Bros. coming to Northeast Fresno at the corner of Maple and Behymer. It’s a slam-dunk for Dutch Bros., which will be minutes from Clovis North Educational Center and the thousands of caffeine-addled students with far too much disposable income.
Several elementary schools are also nearby, and you can bet hundreds of parents will be looking at Dutch Bros. for their caffeine fix every morning after drop-off.
So why aren’t we just as excited as everyone else? Probably because we foresee that once-quiet corner of Maple and Behymer turning into a regular traffic quagmire. If you’ve visited any other Dutch Bros. drive-thru location, you know exactly what we’re talking about.
As it has with its other four locations in the area, the newest Dutch Bros. will arrive in February with a definite caffeine buzz in the air, accompanied by peppy employees and extremely long lines of cars waiting for their fix. It’s all great. But there’s also no arguing the fact that Dutch Bros. has a commanding presence. Dutch Bros. doesn’t just occupy a new space; it takes over the entire shopping center.
That’s surely going to happen again at Maple and Behymer, which until now has been a fairly quiet area. There’s a Subway and a Me-n-Eds, along with a little animal hospital and a few other shops that seem to change every year or so (including a donut shop), but for the most part it’s been pretty easy to get in and out of there in no time.
That figures to change in a hurry once Dutch Bros. arrives. No more parking in front of Me-n-Eds to grab your pizza to-go. Now you’ll be lucky to get in the parking lot. Bethany Clough’s story in today’s Fresno Bee mentioned that there will be a large patio area for everyone to enjoy, including customers from the other shops in the mini-mall. While the concept sounds perfect on paper, right now we’re thinking that it just takes away another few parking spaces.
Maybe we’re being overly cynical, but it sure seems like it would’ve been better had Dutch Bros. built their newest drive-thru on the farthest end of the corner, instead of smack-dab in the middle of the parking lot. It still would’ve been convenient for its customers, and it would have been considerably less inconvenient for people looking to get a quick bite at Me-n-Eds or Subway (or filling up the tank at the Shell station).
We hope we’re wrong, of course. Perhaps whoever approved the location fully considered the parking situation. As long it wasn’t the same planner who approved the parking setup at Dog House Grill, maybe it’ll turn out fine.