Planners OK coffee shop business plans
Facility slated for property on highway near Garfield
BENTONVILLE — A local entrepreneur’s vision of growing a national chain of drive-through coffee shops got a boost Wednesday from Benton County planners.
The Benton County Planning Board approved a site plan for a 40,000-square-foot warehouse, manufacturing and office facility planned for property on Highway 62 near Garfield that will house the 7 Brew Coffee Company as the business grows.
“Our intention is to become a national chain,” Ron Crume, president and co-founder of the company, said after a public hearing in which the planning board approved the site plan for the business.
“We’re starting in Northwest Arkansas,” Crume said. “We’re getting dialed in here before we expand into neighboring cities and states, places like Joplin, Branson, Fort Smith and Springfield.”
Crume said the business now operates from a 20,000-square-foot facility in Rogers. The operation stores some products and assembles the 15-foot by 32-foot buildings used for the drive-through coffee shops. He said the business has one coffee shop open at 2101 S. 52nd St. in Rogers, near the Village on the Creeks, and is about to open a second at 25oo E. Central Ave. in Bentonville. Plans are in place for additional shops in Rogers and Fayetteville.
The planning board spent much of Wednesday’s hearing trying to define the planned uses for the new facility. Work on the warehouse building was initially begun as an agricultural warehouse but after discussion with planning staff the use was changed to heavy commercial, with some warehouse storage, office space and manufacturing.
“I had always had it in the back of my mind that if 7 Brew was successful, and it has been, we would want to convert this building for commercial use,” Crume told the board. Ron Hudnall, with Resource Design in Rogers, told the board his firm is already looking a concepts for a corporate office on the site if the business continues to grow.
John Sudduth, the county’s general services administrator, told Crume to be sure the design for the building met the needs and requirements for all of the possible uses and to work with the county’s building official on meeting the applicable building codes.
Ashley Tucker, board chairman, echoed Sudduth’s comments.
“Our approval is for land use,” Tucker said. “It’s not a building permit.”
The board unanimously approved a request to reduce the number of parking spaces required by county regulations and unanimously approved the site plan for the facility.
“I had always had it in the back of my mind that if 7 Brew was successful, and it has been, we would want to convert this building for commercial use.” — Ron Crume, president and cofounder of 7 Brew Coffee Company