116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Coffee lovers have one more option in Cedar Rapids for their daily caffeine fix.
Dunn Brothers Coffee opened Dec. 15 at 1140 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE, Suite 400 — its sixth location in Iowa, and its second Corridor location under Coralville franchise owners Alexandra and DeAngelo Seay. Since 1987, the Minnesota-based brand has expanded across seven states.
The Seays, who have been running their Coralville location on Crosspark Road since January 2018, said the pandemic provided a surprising opportunity to expand.
“COVID hit and we just boomed from there. We had a drive-thru window and we were one of the two coffee shops open at the very beginning (of the pandemic) in Coralville,” Alexandra Seay said. “So (customers) came and found what we were all about — the product, the staff. COVID was a blessing in disguise.”
Where: 1140 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE, Suite 400, Cedar Rapids
Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Phone: (319) 200-3015
Details: Dunn Brothers Coffee offers a variety of fresh-roasted coffee options and fresh, made-to-order food daily with a dining room and drive-thru.
The franchise, relatively new and with a much smaller presence than others in the Corridor, was a new type of venture for the Seays and Alexandra’s mother, Janet “Gilly” Calcagno. Alexandra and Calcagno decided on the franchise after their experience with a location in Burlington.
They chose Cedar Rapids as their next location because of the market for a drive-thru, which has driven their success through the pandemic.
“The market for a drive-thru is very limited in Iowa City,” Alexandra said. “Eventually, we’d like to be there too, but we wanted to get going on our second location, and we’re familiar with the area. It’s just a great location.”
The recently renovated space was formerly home to Chrome Horse Saloon, which is now located in the NewBo District.
With no background in coffee, Alexandra, 33, brings former management experience from a hotel and convention center. Her husband, DeAngelo, 45, brings his former finance management experience to help run their two locations.
Calcagno, of Chicago, helps manage accounting and marketing, plus “child care as needed,” for the couple’s two children. She recently sold her dental practice, where Alexandra learned the inner workings of a small business.
“With coffee, people tend to get that every day, so you end up meeting and knowing people,” Calcagno said. “It almost becomes like a family.”
Dunn Brothers gets all of their coffee beans green and roasts them in-house at their Coralville location. Signature drinks include the Nirvana, an iced drink with half and half and a variety of syrup flavorings.
Also unique to their cafes are a wide variety of made-to-order breakfast sandwiches, naan pizzas, wraps, and their popular avocado toast. Locations offer catering, as well.
Dunn Brothers is perhaps one of a few anomalies in the food industry today noting no difficulties in hiring employees.
“We had zero trouble. These people were looking to be treated respectfully and friendly,” Calcagno said. “When they heard the owner was on site, it changed everything.”
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