Winside couple seeks to keep Wayne 'funky and cool' with drive-through
For husband and wife, Marcus Janssen and Michelle Roccio going through Miss Molly's drive-through for their daily coffee was their "minute" as Janssen likes to call it.
"We didn't go to the movies or bars or anything like that because we were saving our money, so this was our outing," Roccio said."We came to this drive-through everyday and from there, we didn't want to see that go away."
The desire to keep the coffee shop thriving led the duo to branch out from their sustainable farming consultancy business to purchase the drive-through, renaming it 527 Brewhouse. The business opened early in October.
On the surface it may not seem like there would be a lot of cross-over between an agricultural business and coffee shop, but Janssen and Roccio see 527 Brewhouse as an extension of their farming enterprise.
Janssen and Roccio are making it their mission to make 527 Brewhouse a responsible, sustainable, locally-supplied business. They've been working with area suppliers to get the freshest ingredients and are replacing supplies like cups with packaging that is either recyclable or compostable. Though there are still a few bugs to work out here and there, the couple has been able to make the transition to a more sustainable-minded coffee shop fairly quickly.
"What we recognized was that we could get all these options," Roccio said. "We could get farm-to-table food, we could get compostable cups, we could get all that stuff, but not in our own hometown so we decided that, just like our agricultural business, we wanted to make this business a model for other businesses that could look at us and say 'they're still able to keep the doors open and the lights on and sustainability works'."
Expediency and consistency is also at the forefront of Janssen and Roccio's concerns. In the first week 527 Brewhouse was open, cars were lined up waiting for the drinks they came to expect from the old coffee house. To help get people through the line faster, the couple have come up with ways for people to order faster and providing quality service at both windows. There's also now music playing outside for those who don't want to wait for their drinks in silence.
"People really value that coffee shop experience and having a coffee house that's vibrant and active and open is really important for people driving through to see that Wayne has stuff going on," Roccio said.
"We want to keep this place funky and cool," Janssen added.
The drive-through is already taking customer suggestions by extending the hours. Staff at Providence Medical Center mentioned to Janssen and Roccio how much they'd enjoy getting a coffee before the morning shift at the hospital, a request the couple was more than happy to oblige.
"We're trying extended hours, we're going to be opening at 5:30 a.m. We're going to try it for two weeks just to make sure it's something that fits the community and that they want it and if it is, then we'll do it," Roccio said.
527 Brewhouse will be open seven day a week and will be open either at 5:30 or 6:30 a.m., depending on the outcome of the early opening test, and will close at 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and will be open 7 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sundays.
Roccio and Janssen said they recieved multiple requests for the same thing-a lunch option.
"We've had a tremendous number of requests for a sandwich and chips at lunch. I'm really excited to see what that's going to bring," Roccio said. "I think people will respond to it."
Starting around Nov. 1, 527 Brewhouse will offer some sort of sandwich that customers can grab and eat on the go. Roccio said their goal is to find something that can fill the hungriest of customers but still be sustainably packaged.
Along with lunch, the menu features a variety of pastries, yogurt and a wide variety of coffee drinks, tea, lemonade and more. Roccio said they also have vegan and keto options for some of their products.
The drink menu is extremely customizable, in no small part thanks to the skills of the baristas. When Janssen and Roccio took over Miss Molly's business, they kept the staff and hope to hire a few more, making the transition easy on regular customers. The couple are grateful for their experienced employees.
"If you need coffee in your business, we have to-go boxes for that. If you want pastries for a meeting or baby shower, we can do stuff like that here now, which is exciting, but really, the big thing is the staff," Janssen said. "They make it all happen."
527 Brewhouse is located on Highway 35 in Wayne, across the street from Shopko. Roccio and Janssen said they are exited to be meeting new regulars and do their part to keep Wayne "funky."