UPDATED — If you’re traveling far from Kansas next year, say, the East or West Coasts or the Deep South, don’t be surprised if you find PrairieFire Coffee Roasters in several new places.
“We should see a substantial amount of growth in our convenience store segment,” says general manager Jeff Deitchler.
That’s because the company is going to partner with distributors nationally to begin selling its coffee, tea, cappuccino and hot chocolate.
Currently, PrairieFire directly serves more than 700 convenience stores in Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Soon, it also will return to Nebraska.
The company wants to expand further, but Deitchler says it makes more sense to have distributors handle accounts that are numerous states away.
“It would be really tough for us to service some of those,” he says. “These distributors are already there.”
Deitchler anticipates the partnerships will be a huge boon to business.
“We’ll easily double the number of stores . . . by the end of the first quarter,” he says.
“We are having to ramp up production at the coffee roasting facility for sure,” he says of the company’s facility at 18th and Mosley.
“It’s putting a cramp on our warehouse space,” he says of the company’s K-96 and Greenwich space.
Deitchler says the company has updated the equipment, graphics and point-of-sale materials that will be used in the new stores.
“We’ve had to do quite a bit of homework,” he says. “We spent a good deal of time looking at what we had been doing.”
Though PrairieFire is in restaurants and offices now, Deitchler says the company isn’t looking beyond convenience stores for nationwide expansion.
“I don’t know that it would work that well with the office coffee side,” he says. “There may be some food service opportunities down the road.”
Deitchler says the company is close to two distribution deals. Once they’re reached, Deitchler says he expects “it’s going to be a challenge.”
“We could see some very rapid growth.”
He’s says there’s a level of uncertainty with how many orders will come in week to week.
Not that he’s complaining.
“These are good, high class problems to have.”