MELBOURNE, Fla. – Caffeine-fueled growth: The Arkansas-based 7 Brew Coffee chain plans to open 165 drive-thru beverage shops along Florida’s East Coast during the next five years, ranging from the Space Coast southward to Miami.
That’s what Mark Gottlieb, founder and owner of MetroGroup Development, said Thursday night after receiving approval to build the Sunshine State’s first 7 Brew Coffee in downtown Melbourne, according to News 6 partner Florida Today.
This 530-square-foot, double-drive-thru coffee shop is slated for construction at the northeast corner of U.S. 1 and Palmetto Avenue, on the grassy lot next to Wawa.
7 Brew Coffee was founded in February 2017 with a store in Rogers, Arkansas. Today, the corporate website lists 13 locations in Arkansas, three in Missouri, and one each in South Carolina, Kansas and Texas.
“This will be the first 7 Brew drive-thru coffee establishment in Florida, as they have a growth program now initiated here in the state,” Chris Ossa, a Kimley-Horn civil engineer, told the Melbourne Planning and Zoning Board on Thursday.
“It was a strategically identified location, due to its access to U.S. 1,” Ossa said.
The Planning and Zoning Board unanimously approved a site plan for the coffee shop. Planning Manager Cheryl Dean said departing customers will only be permitted to take right turns onto northbound U.S. 1.
“They have a walk-up window, but this is really more for the traveling public to run in, get in line, get their coffee and head on up the road,” Dean told the board.
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How many 7 Brew Coffee locations will be in Brevard?
Gottlieb said he hopes Brevard County’s first two 7 Brew Coffee locations will open this year: one in downtown Melbourne and one in Viera.
The latter is slated for the Winn-Dixie-anchored plaza at the intersection of Murrell Road and Viera Boulevard. The shop would be located between 7-Eleven and the Tesla charging stations, said Shey Anderson, a JM Real Estate licensed commercial agent.
Gottlieb said the coffee chain plans eight or nine Brevard locations in total, including sites in north Cocoa and on Palm Bay Road.
7 Brew Coffee’s featured drinks during the month of May are the French Vanilla Mocha, Pixie Stick Red Bull and Sweet & Salty Chai.
“We are cranking out delicious, infused energy drinks, Italian sodas, smoothies, teas and more!” the company website says.
Rapid franchise expansion is percolating across the country. 7 Brew Coffee opened its first South Carolina location in January in Greenville. A store manager told The Greenville News that the chain plans to eventually open 15 to 20 locations in the Greenville-Spartanburg area.
Up to 27 franchise locations are planned across the Kansas City metropolitan area, the Kansas City Star reported in January.
In February 2021, the Melbourne City Council unanimously rejected a Georgia developer’s bid to rezone the ¾-acre grassy lot to allow construction of a Mr. Clean Car Wash.
City Council members cited the lot’s close proximity to Associated Endodontists — where patients undergo delicate dental microsurgeries. They also cited potential back-ups on Palmetto Avenue, particularly in light of Wawa’s existing traffic.
Thursday, Planning and Zoning Board member Frank Schrader voiced concerns about traffic generated by 7 Brew Coffee.
“Is the amount of traffic going through potentially (backing up) through this neighborhood, given the difficulties in coming out onto both U.S. 1 and (U.S.) 192 from that area?” Schrader asked.
Per information submitted by the developer, the coffee shop would generate about 358 new vehicle trips per day, and “the vast majority of these trips will be pass-by trips on U.S. 1,” an agenda memo said. Mr. Clean Car Wash was estimated to generate about 380 daily trips via access from US 1, a February 2021 agenda memo said.
Now vacant, the ¾-acre grassy lot was first developed in 1920 with a single-family dwelling, according to a City Hall memo. The dwelling was replaced by a gas
station in the early 1940s, and a motel was added to the site in the late 1950s.
That gas station was demolished by 1959 and later replaced with an office and home. All structures were later razed.
The downtown Melbourne Wawa at U.S. 1 and Strawbridge Avenue opened in August 2018.