For the first time in almost 10 years, the Quad-Cities is home to only one Coffee Hound.
The Coffee Hound brand, which consisted of three separately owned locations of the same name in Bettendorf, Davenport and East Moline, has dwindled to a single cafe on Devils Glen Road in Bettendorf.
“It began to be confusing among the three locations, as we were all independently owned and operated,” said Paige Allender, who has owned the Davenport location since 2010. Before owning the shop, she worked as a barista there since 2001.
It also proved confusing for customers to keep track of three different reward systems, drink menus and weekly specials.
To simplify things, Beth and Greg Aronson, who opened the original Coffee Hound in Davenport in 1999, asked the owners of the licensed locations if they wanted to join an official franchise.
Previously, Allender and Robb Macdougall, the East Moline shop owner, had “loose franchise licenses” with the Aronsons, said Macdougall.
“They gave us the option to go with them or go out on our own,” Macdougall, who has owned the business with his wife, Brooke, since 2010, said. “We thought long and hard and decided we wanted to go in our own direction.”
So did Allender.
The Aronsons said via email they are looking to grow the Coffee Hound brand in the Quad-Cities and other markets with corporate and franchised locations.
“Coffee Hound has a very specific vision of what the brand is and how to expand it into other markets in the coming years,” they said. “It was agreed that it would be mutually beneficial to part ways, allowing each entity to pursue their own goals in the coffee retail business. So the license agreements have been dissolved.”
Part of the Aronsons’ vision includes serving alcohol in addition to coffee. The Bettendorf Coffee Hound, the sole location the couple has owned and operated since 2008, has offered craft beer, wine and appetizers since 2015.
“That’s a big differential in terms of clientele,” Macdougall said. “There’s nothing wrong with it; we just didn’t want to go that way.”
He wanted to cater to his morning crowd, which he estimates makes up about 70 percent of business.
“There’s a different clientele even as close as the towns are,” he said. “We wanted to meet the need here.”
Name changes went into effect in May, ushering in two new brands: The East Moline Coffee Company, 3537 Archer Drive, East Moline, and The Coffee Revolution, the drive-thru spot at the intersection of Hayes and Brady streets.
Allender got inspiration for the name — accompanied by the tagline “Let’s revolt” — from two places: “The first is the American Revolution was planned in coffee shops; you were a rebel if you drank coffee,” she said. “The second is we hope to offer new, exciting or revolutionary drinks.”
Monica McCleary, a barista at The Coffee Revolution, said the change has surprised customers. It's also cleared things up.
“A lot of people would say, ‘I thought you were all the same,’ and that’s not the case,” she said. “The name is about starting over and coming back with new ideas about coffee.”
Along with traditional drinks, The Coffee Revolution’s menu includes the Monster Fruity Pebble Frappe, made with a Monster energy drink, and the Cinnamon Toast Crunch latte.
“I am ecstatic to have my vision come to life,” Allender said. “I loved the name and theme of Coffee Hound, but there is something special about bringing your own ideas to fruition.”
'Embedded with East Moline'
Macdougall is happy his coffee house has a name that matches its mission.
The East Moline Coffee Company sits at the intersection of 36th Avenue and Archer Drive in a mostly residential area of East Moline. The shop moved two years ago from its original location on 7th Street.
"It's kind of a weird location because it just pops up," Samm Beals, a barista, said. "But it works."
The East Moline Coffee Company’s logo is decorated with orange and black, the colors of United Township High School, which is about a half-mile away.
Glenview Middle School is also a short drive away, so plenty of teachers are regulars at the coffee shop.
“We’re embedded with East Moline," Macdougall said. "We’re all about the community spirit and we're super proud to be here.”
Macdougall is proud to own one of the city's only, if not the only, independent coffee houses.
The rebranding was “nerve wracking,” he said, but has worked so far, because the staff — and eclectic menu — hasn’t changed.
“We’re kind of spoiled,” he said. “We have such loyal customers."
The establishment offers a “staggering” number of flavors, from lavender to macadamia nut, as well as natural fruit smoothies and matcha teas. A team of eight baristas — all women — also share original recipes via Post-it notes on a recommendation board.
One recommendation, comes from manager Jessica Anderson, a seven-year employee there. Her "Bomb latte" includes salted caramel, white mocha, creme brulee and hazelnut flavoring.
Aside from the caffeine, Anderson said regulars are addicted to the shop's family-like atmosphere.
“It’s almost like a safe haven for people to come if they need someone to talk to or encourage them," she said. "People look forward to coming in not just for coffee, but for the conversation."
That’s part of what keeps Beals, a Davenport resident, coming to work each day.
“I commute here because I love it so much,” she said. “Everyone takes their time to ask about your life. You don’t get that everywhere.”