Dutch Bros adding coffee stand on the way to Duportail Bridge

Dutch Bros Coffee, the popular Oregon coffee chain with a dedicated fan base, will open its seventh local stand in Richland, where it has a deal to buy land on the road leading to the new Duportail Bridge.

Bruce Barnes, a Pasco-based Dutch Bros franchisee, will buy a 42,000-square-foot site for the Tri-Cities’ seventh Dutch Bros Coffee on the north side of Stevens Drive, east of Wellsian Way from the city of Richland.

The Richland Economic Development Committee agreed to recommend the city council approve the $336,000 deal during a special meeting in June. The city council is expected to review it for a final decision in July.

Barnes, operating through BTKM Enterprises LLC, will apply for building permits within 90 days of closing the land deal. Construction will take up to 270 days. The timeline means the newest Dutch Bros will open sometime after the new bridge opens.

The city retains the right to buy back the land if Barnes does not follow through on his plans.

A spokeswoman for Dutch Bros said the company won’t confirm the new location because the sale is still pending.

According to city records, the new Dutch Bros will be south of U-Haul and Ala Cart Golf Course at the intersection where Stevens Drive becomes Duportail and heads west about a mile from the new Yakima River crossing.

The $38 million Duportail Bridge is on track to open this fall. It will provide a direct connection between central Richland and the Queensgate area and south Richland. Notably, it will relieve traffic on Interstate 182, routing it right past Dutch Bros.

Mandy Wallner, marketing specialist for the city of Richland’s economic development department, said Barnes wanted to site a Dutch Bros in central Richland.

However, the city was hesitant to waive rules that limit drive-thrus in the central business district to allow Dutch Bros to go ahead. The company’s stands generate heavy traffic.

Staff found city-owned land at Wellsian and Stevens that will have enough traffic once the bridge opens to justify the investment. It swapped sites with a neighboring property owner to create a safe distance between the traffic signal and the drive-thru entrance and exit.

“It was a perfect storm,” Wallner said.

Dutch Bros and the city entered a purchase and sale agreement in late 2019. The city planned to vet it through the Economic Development Commission in March, but the discussion was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which restricted noncritical business.

Wallner said she’s encouraged that Barnes is pressing ahead with the plan, calling it a hopeful sign that the economy is poised to recover.

The newest Dutch Bros will employ 20 to 40 people. Income is projected at $120,000 to $150,000 a month, according to documents presented to the Richland Economic Development Commission.

Dutch Bros, based in Grants Pass, Oregon, is a privately-held company noted for its colorful, windmill-themed coffee stands, loyal fans and its support of worthy causes. There is one existing Dutch Bros in Richland, three in Kennewick and two in Pasco. Prosser and Sunnyside have one each.

Rob Ellsworth of SVN | Retter & Company is representing the buyer in the land deal.

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