Bear Creek Coffee Shop brewing in Knoxville, TN., suburb of Farragut

Ordinance change makes room for coffee shop

Thu, Jan, 10, 2008 -The Kroger development at Campbell Station Exchange attracted some notice recently when an applicant for a lease requested a zoning ordinance change.

Robinson & Phillips, LLC, requested that the zoning ordinances restricting drive thru service lanes as a principal means for service and outdoor seating percentage based on indoor seating be amended to allow a drive-thru coffee shop.

The newly changed ordinances specifically restrict the amendments to apply only to restaurants, tea rooms, cafes and coffee houses.

Kyle Phillips and David Robinson, both West Knoxville residents, plan to open a Bear Creek Coffee Shop in the new Kroger development now that the ordinance has been changed.

In the coffee business, the bulk of revenue is made during the morning rush hour by people on their way to work. Those people need quick convenience, and that means a drive thru, Phillips said.

In addition to the drive thru, the coffee shop will have indoor and patio seating and will offer breakfast foods and possibly sandwiches in addition to coffee. To attract customers to convene or relax, the café also will have WiFi access.

"We're looking to put in a café-style shop, kind of a neighborhood place," Phillips said, who compares Bear Creek to a smaller-scale Starbucks.

"We feel that Farragut is a great location. The demographic makeup of the town, the interest in buying in Farragut, the high school right across the street: we just feel that it's a great place to make it a community gathering spot," he added.

Phillips drives down Kingston Pike each day to and from work and has noticed the absence of a convenient coffee stop. "If I want a cup of coffee, I have to stop in Weigel's or some other station or cut up through Parkside and it's a nightmare. The traffic is awful," Phillips said.

The closest Starbucks is in Turkey Creek but is on the Knoxville side, Phillips pointed out. "I hope that people will recognize that and it will be a benefit to the town of Farragut and to the people who live here and [will be] more convenient to them," he added.

Bear Creek is not a franchise, which allows some autonomy to the licensees. Bear Creek Coffee Company provides coffee, signage and consulting. Bear Creek also usually creates the buildings used by their licensees, but not in Farragut.

"We're negotiating completely with the developer to fit in with the new Kroger development so that the look of the building, the flow and the plan works well with the town of Farragut and with the shopping center," Phillips said.

The Kroger developer projects an opening in August, and Phillips hopes to have Bear Creek open by then, if not earlier.

"We're excited and looking forward to getting open and working here in the community and hopefully being successful and hopefully providing a nice change for people," Phillips said.
Robinson & Phillips also plan on opening two other locations in the Knoxville area this, one a traditional double sided stand alone drive-thru only coffee shop and a kiosk in a local Knoxville Hospital. Both will be Bear Creek Coffee Shops. "We feel that they are the best. Their support is great, location and zoning assistance excellent, and they serve the best product that I have ever tasted", Phillips said.

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