Romance brews, then couple launches Las Vegas coffee business

Cory Nimmer and Kelli Gillespie hiked nearly 5 miles to Chicken Point peak in Sedona, Ariz., with four friends to marry in a private ceremony three years to the date from meeting at a Dutch Bros. Coffee shop in Arizona.

Carrying only backpacks, which contained their formal wedding clothes and water, the couple read their vows to each other and said “I do” before their closest friends, one of whom presided over the wedding.

Less than a month later, the couple learned that they would be the new owners of the Dutch Bros. East Vegas store in Las Vegas. Now the couple is looking to open at least six additional shops in the valley after their first store opens today at 2820 E. Tropicana Ave.

“We hope to splash soon in the next five years,” Cory Nimmer said. “We’ll have sites from Sunset up to Nellis on the east side.”

Although their wedding may have been private, the grand opening of their first 24-hour drive-thru coffee store will be a huge celebration that will include funky music and free drinks for patrons.

The East Tropicana coffee shop is part of Dutch Bros. Coffee’s expansion into Las Vegas, which will bring up to 35 new Dutch Bros. Coffee locations with 30 to 40 employees each. That means that Dutch Bros. Coffee could potentially hire up to 1,400 employees in Las Vegas, according to a Dutch Bros. Coffee representative.

Raj Tumber, a certified business expert at SCORE, said Las Vegas is structured in a way that attracts retail business.

“It’s definitely doable,” Tumber said. “If you look at Las Vegas and if you compare the number of chains we have here, it’s a lot more than other cities in the nation. Any chain can move here and open a boatload of locations. The history shows, there are consumers, there are customers.”


Four additional “pods,” which are clusters of Dutch Bros. sites within a specific part of town run by franchisees, will open around Las Vegas.

“Each pod has the capacity for up to seven stores and the aim would be that each franchisee would max out with seven stores,” field operations director Lance Risser said.

Dutch Bros. has more than 240 locations and more than 4,000 employees across seven states, including California, Oregon and Washington. The Dutch Bros. East Vegas location will be the first site in Las Vegas and the second site in Nevada.

Even though the other franchisees haven’t been selected yet, Gillespie is excited about the expansion of not only her stores but for all of Dutch Bros. stores in Las Vegas.

“They’re going to go everywhere,” Gillespie said. “We want neighbors.”

Risser said Dutch Bros. recently launched a new franchising program and Nimmer and Gillespie are the first franchisees. Risser said the Nimmers were two of seven applicants for the Dutch Bros. East Vegas site, and they were selected because they “fit the culture.”

Cory and Kelli met at a Dutch Bros. Coffee shop in Arizona Feb. 22, 2012, when Kelli came in to interview for a job. Cory hired her on the spot.

One year later, the two began dating while managing separate stores. Their marriage on Feb. 22, 2015, at the Sedona, Ariz., peak, was a “secret wedding.”


This past March, the duo learned that its application for the Dutch Bros. East Vegas store had been approved. Four days later, the couple tied the knot for the second time in front of their friends and family — celebrating not only their partnership in marriage, but their new partnership as co-owners of the Dutch Bros. East Vegas site.

“It’s not a scary thing for us, it’s more of an exciting thing,” Gillespie said. Dutch Bros. East Vegas will have 36 employees when it opens, including several veterans from Phoenix-area sites where Kelli and Cory first met.

The owners, who share the same taste in coffee — iced coffee with white chocolate and creme de menthe — said they encourage their employees to put family first and pursue their passions because they want them to be happy.

“We do whatever it takes to help our employees,”Gillespie said. “We give people a lot of time and patience. We help them financially in any way possible. We tell them that we’re a family and family comes first, so just take care of yourself.”

Las Vegas is home to many 24-hour coffee shops around town beyond Starbucks, including Madhouse Coffee, The Lodge Coffee House &Tavern.

Madhouse Coffee owner Marco Prestia, 49, said he he’s not too worried about another coffee chain moving into the city because he “doesn’t sell just coffee, he sells cool.”

“We’re different,” he said. “We have a very precise identity in this city. I welcome competition. It’ll make us better.”

But the duo said they aren’t looking for competition and consider Dutch Bros. East Vegas an entirely different experience from other coffeehouses in town with its own niche and customer base.

“We love Starbucks,” Gillespie said. “(Dutch Bros. Coffee) is more than coffee, it’s about the experience. We’re never afraid to make someone’s day.”

Her husband agreed.

“I always say that (Dutch Bros.) is a people business that just happens to serves coffee.”

Contact Review-Journal writer Michelle Iracheta at 702-387-5205. Find her on Twitter at @cephira.

Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada secretary of state website offers little protection against fraudulent business filings
Property developer Andy Pham tells how control of his business was easily seized by another person using the secretary of state website.
Caesars may be going solo in its marijuana policy
Several Southern Nevada casino companies aren’t following Caesars Entertainment’s lead on marijuana testing.
How much is the Lucky Dragon worth?
Less than a year-and-a-half after it opened, the Lucky Dragon was in bankruptcy.
Gyms and discount stores take over empty retail spaces
Grocery stores used to draw people to shopping centers. But many large retail spaces have been vacant since 2008. Discount stores like goodwill and gyms like EOS Fitness are filling those empty spaces, and helping to draw shoppers back in. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Funding source of Las Vegas stadium for the Raiders is sound, expert says
The stadium is funded in part by $750 million of room taxes, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute at UNLV, says that is a good use of public funds. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas needs light rail, expert says
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute said he is afraid of a "congestion mobility crisis." Las Vegas needs a light rail system, he said, to accommodate the city's growing number of attractions. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three takeaways from Wynn Resorts' Earnings Call
Matt Maddox came out swinging in his first earnings conference call as Wynn Resorts chief executive officer, boasting of record Las Vegas quarterly revenues and applicants lining up for work.
Star Wars VR Comes to Las Vegas
Sneak peak at the new "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire" VR experience at the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Elaine Wynn continues her fight to change Wynn Resorts board
Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is seeking to kick a friend of her ex-husband Steve Wynn off the company’s board of directors. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zillow is getting into house flipping in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal real estate reporter Eli Segall says flipping houses has waned in popularity after the housing bubble burst.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like