Omahans will soon see a familiar name in the coffee aisle at some local grocery stores.
Scooter's Coffee, headquartered in Omaha, will begin selling bags of the chain's whole bean and ground coffee in some Hy-Vee stores, Costco and Sam's Club by the end of December, said Jen Chaney, Scooter's national accounts and new business development manager.
The brand also has plans to roll out its own K-Cups, used for single-serve Keurig coffee machines, to Omaha stores after Jan. 1, Chaney said.
Omaha is just the first step. Chaney said Scooter's plans to sell bagged coffee in Lincoln and, eventually, other cities where the chain has franchises, including Sioux City, Iowa; Sioux Falls, S.D.; and the Kansas City area.
Scooter's already has been selling its beans and ground coffees in its locations throughout the Omaha area. However, branching into other retail spaces is a “brand new thing” for the company, Chaney said.
“(It's been) a lot of red tape for us to get this all set up and going,” Chaney said, noting the company recently purchased a new coffee roaster and packaging machine to prepare for anticipated orders. It also hired a full-time employee in July to head up business development, including retail sales.
Marcus Fischer, assistant store director of the Linden Market Hy-Vee at 132nd Street and West Dodge Road, said the store will sell Scooter's K-Cups and a few varieties of its whole bean and ground coffee as soon as it's available.
“Anything we can do to help out another local company is always good for us and good for them,” Fischer said, adding: “Obviously Scooter's is a well-known brand here in Omaha and that attracted us to them as well.”
David Schrum, assistant store director of the Hy-Vee at 180th and Q Streets, said the store would probably end up bringing the brand in as soon as it's available. He was especially interested in the Scooter's K-Cups. “It's a segment of the market that's grown threefold in the last two years,” he said. “It's a very important segment for anybody who's going to enter that market.”
Scooter's has also partnered with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to create special Husker and Big Red coffee blends, which eventually will be available in grocery stores and perhaps some stores that sell Huskers paraphernalia, Chaney said.
Also new this year: Scooter's Espresso Meltaways, a new variety of the colorful foil-wrapped Bakers Candies chocolates made in Greenwood, Neb., and holiday gift baskets. The chocolates are available on Scooter's online store, in its Omaha coffee houses and packaged in holiday gift baskets.
The Scooter's expansion plan includes additional coffee houses. Earlier this year, the chain expanded westward to its eighth state, Utah. And the chain's 109th store opened earlier this month at Nebraska Crossing Outlets.
“Our opening weekend (there) was the best in Scooter's history,” Chaney said. That location through Jan. 1 is running a “golden ticket” promotion, where three finders of a ticket in a bag of whole bean or ground coffee purchased there each will receive a $5,000 diamond.
The company projects at least 20 new store openings before the end of 2014.