After a dozen years of growth based on premium product and service, Scooter’s Coffeehouse is branding itself as the java fix with “amazing people, serving amazing coffee, amazingly fast.” The formula’s earned the franchise several Best Of honors, including the Omaha Chamber of Commerce Emerging Business of the Year award, and now Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O designation. What started as a single location in Bellevue has become a regional franchise poised to further expand. Founder Don Eckles opened Scooter’s Java Express/Scooter’s Coffeehouse in 1998. He built the company to 17 locations before entering a purchase agreement with SJE Holdings Inc. The franchising of the business pushed the number of Scooter’s sites to more than 75 in seven states In October, Eckles, president of Boundless Enterprises, an owner-operator of 22 Scooter’s Coffeehouses founded in 2006, purchased the Scooter’s franchise business from SJE. This back-to-the-future, come-full-circle move means Eckles and his partners are in control of future franchise sales and operations as the business moves to strengthen its brand. Boundless also owns Harvest Roasting, the Bellevue company that furnishes Scooter’s with coffee beans and more. “We’re coming back to our roots with a real focus on those basic principles of our business,” says director of business development Todd Graeve. “Our intent is to expand Scooter’s on a much more dynamic level than we have in the past. We’re looking to build more coffeehouses regionally and, ultimately, nationally.” He says the new drive-thru coffee kiosk at 168th and Dodge in Omaha is the “designed for speed” model for future Scooter’s stores. “If we can continue to focus on what we call those ‘amazings’ in the communities we build coffeehouses in and continue to be a part of the community,” he says, “then we feel like we can do well.” Graeve says Scooter’s community connection is accomplished customer-by-customer. “It’s really what happens at the drive-up window or at the walk-in counter. We get to know our customers personally. We get to know their names and their favorite drinks, and we really become a part of their every day life. A big part of our business is those relationships we establish.” He notes the Best of the Big O vote is especially welcome. “It means a lot to us that it’s coming directly from the community we’re serving coffee to daily.”

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