Dutch Bros. settles downtown

Two local companies show commitment to community, and Walmart plans to expand

Anyone who drives Ninth Street through downtown on a regular basis as I do watched patiently as Dutch Bros. erected its newest coffee stand at the corner of Eighth and Main. I worried that traffic would become unbearable through that intersection—it’s already bad enough with the short, off-timed lights—but I’m happy to report that since Dutch opened a few weeks ago, I’ve seen no change in pace. They were smart to put the entrance on Wall Street instead of Eighth. All they need now is a sign inside the parking lot directing cars to the drive thru—the swirl of arrows on the pavement is confusing to say the least.

I finally stopped by earlier this week to check in on the new location—the fourth in town owned by Dan and Michal Richardson. To be totally honest, Dutch Bros. is not my favorite when it comes to coffee—but there is something to be said for the friendly service. No matter how crummy my day is, those guys (and gals) always seem to be having a blast and they infuse the few minutes waiting at the window with their enthusiasm and outgoing personalities. What’s more, the Richardsons are dedicated to giving back. Last Thursday, for their downtown grand opening, they served up $1 16 oz. drinks for 24 hours and donated the proceeds—totaling $7,277—to the National Alzheimer’s Association. Rock on.

Empty pantries Since I moved out of my parents’ house, I’ve changed my address almost every single year. It’s a pain in the you-know-what, and despite best intentions, during each move I inevitably throw out some perfectly good stuff, including edibles.

Enter Move for Hunger. The national nonprofit is a network of moving companies that pick up unwanted food and deliver it to those in need. Local company Brady’s Moving & Storage Inc. recently signed on to the effort, meaning anyone who employs them can simply donate those unopened cans of tuna and Chef Boyardee on the spot. “When we realized how many of our neighbors were going hungry, we knew we had to do something,” Brady’s President Jim Rasdeuschek said in a press release. Donations will be delivered to the Salvation Army here in Chico.

Speak up on Walmart Some people love Walmart. After all, it offers a huge selection, one-stop shopping and low prices. Those are all important factors in choosing a place to shop, especially for large families and those struggling financially.

In the big picture, however, Walmart has been shown again and again to be a detriment to the health of communities, particularly small, locally owned businesses. A group of concerned locals are drumming up opposition to the proposed expansion of the Forest Avenue store (see “Walmart opposition brews,” Newslines, June 30). They ask: Do we need a second gas station on that block? Do we need more grocery aisles, with both Winco and Foodmaxx nearby? If you have an opinion, you’ll have a chance to speak up at the Planning Commission’s meeting tonight (Thursday, July 21, 6:30 p.m., City Council chambers), where the main topic of discussion will be the environmental impacts—including social impacts—of expanding that store.