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After a string of permitting problems, construction on the 7 Brew coffee shop at the corner of Sunshine Street and Jefferson Avenue will finally begin in December, franchisee Brandon Sebald said.
That location, which is slated to open around March 2024, is the first step in an accelerated growth plan for the broader Springfield market, where the Arkansas-based coffee chain already has five stores operating, Sebald said.
Next year, 7 Brew plans to open two additional Springfield locations, Sebald said. By 2026, the franchisee aims to have ten stores operating in the broader Springfield market.
“If you don’t have a 7 Brew near you now, you probably will in the near future because we’re growing fast,” Sebald said.
Speedy service, rapid expansion
Since its 2017-debut in Rogers, Arkansas, with just seven original coffees, the drive-thru chain has rapidly expanded its footprint across the country. 7 Brew has 155 locations in 25 states, according to its website.
“By the end of the year, there’s aspirations they’ll be pretty close to hitting 200 locations,” Sebald said.
In just six years, the chain has become known as a disruptor in the coffee industry, mostly due to its two-lane drive-thru concept that puts a drink in the average customer’s hand in less than four minutes, Sebald said. 7 Brew is open seven days a week from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., rain or shine.
The menu has grown since 2017. 7 Brew now boasts 20,000-plus unique drink combinations, including espresso-based coffees, chillers, teas, infused energy drinks, sodas and more, according to its website. November’s menu highlights a Pumpkin Roll Breve, a Golden Pear 7 Energy Drink and a Creme Brulée Breve.
Sebald’s franchisee footprint includes the whole state of Missouri, besides Branson and Kansas City, he said. He also owns 7 Brew locations in a large portion of Arkansas, northern Louisiana, and eastern Texas.
“It’s a highly viable economic model, obviously,” Sebald said. “That, combined with returns, gives us the confidence to keep on growing the brand.”
And grown they have. Across the Show-Me State, there will be 12 stores open by the end of the year, Sebald said. One store will be opening in Rolla, and two locations will open in St. Louis by the end of December 2023.
In 2024, Sebald’s team plans to open an additional six to eight locations in Missouri and expects that growth to continue annually across the state. The expansion plans are not concrete and are subject to change, dependent on the real estate market, Sebald said.
“Growth does kind of continue to just snowball forward,” Sebald said. “Next year, you’re going to see it explode even more.”
7 Brew began offering franchising and development rights for stores in 2021, according to the FDD Exchange. The total investment to start a 7 Brew franchise is $790,800 to $1.58 million, assuming a two-store commitment. The franchise fee for the first location is $35,000, with franchise fees and development fees decreasing for additional stores opened, according to the exchange.
Springfield is “close to the heart”
Though Sebald’s company, Brew Crew LLC, is based in Fayetteville, Arkansas, its 7 Brew interest has its roots in the Queen City of the Ozarks. Brew Crew opened its first-ever franchise in Springfield in December 2021.
“It all starts in Springfield,” Sebald said. ” We opened our first store out there. We have our entire design and build team out of Springfield.”
“Needless to say, Springfield is close to the heart for us.”
Brew Crew’s construction partner is also based in Springfield. Since 2020, 7 Brew has partnered with Springfield-based Creative Modular Construction (CMC) as an exclusive building manufacturer, according to the CMC website.
7 Brew’s modular-build concept, where most of the building is fabricated off-site and delivered for installation, has allowed the two companies to open roughly one new coffee shop per week, according to the website.
“We use [CMC] across our entire footprint so they service us all the way from St. Louis down to Texas and Louisiana,” Sebald said.
7 Brew stores have garnered the reputation of seemingly popping up overnight, thanks in large part to the modular-building concept, Sebald said. The average build takes eight to 10 weeks.
“We have a really fast buildout timeline,” Sebald said. “The only thing we hold our breath on is weather.”
More Springfield stores coming soon
After months of debate and recommendations of denial from the Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission, the 7 Brew location at Sunshine Street and Jefferson Avenue finally got the greenlight from the Springfield City Council earlier this year. With the ground still untouched at Sunshine and Jefferson, that location has been anything but the speedy turn-around 7 Brew is known for.
“The development was initially denied, but the developer and 7 Brew worked with the city and local community to address all their concerns,” Sebald said.
The building permit will be approved “in the coming weeks” and construction will begin in December, he said. That store will open by the end of the first quarter of 2024, he said.
There’s another two to three locations that 7 Brew is looking to open in Springfield, like one in the northwest and a store in the southeast, Sebald said. The coffee-chain plans to open stores in Republic and Ozark as well, he said.
By the end of the second quarter of 2024, 7 Brew will announce its seventh Springfield location, Sebald said.
“We like to just be able to provide convenience for our customers,” Sebald said. “So anywhere that there’s not a 7 Brew within a five-minute drive time, we’d like to be able to go into those markets.”