A coffee company on the go will soon pop into a permanent home in West Fargo’s newest downtown showcase.
Thunder Coffee plans to open as an anchor tenant of Pioneer Place, 300 block Sheyenne Street.
Pioneer Place, a $12 million mixed-use building for retail and residential and mirrored after Sheyenne Plaza, officially opened July 1.
On the main floor of Pioneer Place, where business tenants such as D.A. Davidson, Zone Nutrition and Grateful Grateful will also open, Thunder Coffee will open a roughly 1,750-square-foot, sit-down coffee shop in the south corner of Pioneer Place.
“We do not currently have a locally owned sit-down, coffee shop downtown,” said McKenzy Olson, vice president of marketing and public relations for Epic Management.
Thunder Coffee operated a shop in north Fargo before going to a fully-mobile business in 2017. It does pop-up shops, delivers and caters coffee and plans to be a family-friendly destination for downtown West Fargo with community involvement and regular free events.
“They are very involved in the community already,” Olson said of Thunder Coffee owners Skyler Dutton, Nicole Steen-Dutton and Dexter Dutton.
Olson said having a sit-down coffee shop in the area will increase walkability, retail traffic and offer an additional downtown location for meetings and special occasions.
The business will continue some aspects of its mobility with continued catering options and a planned drive through for the West Fargo location.
West Fargo roots
Skyler Dutton is a former West Fargo police officer who lives in West Fargo with his business partner, Nicole Steen-Dutton. Nicole grew up in the business, with an aunt who owns a coffee farm in Hawaii. But, her love of the caffeinated confection was amped up as a college student.
Skyler’s brother, Dexter, attended college in Oklahoma and became immersed in the coffee culture there, working at a local coffee shop and eventually becoming a member of the Oklahoma City Barista Guild.
Dexter Dutton returned to North Dakota in 2016 and introduced Skyler and Nicole to a classic pour-over coffee.
“Needless to say, one drink of what good coffee can taste like and I was in,” Skyler Dutton said.
The three soon opened Thunder Coffee in north Fargo in 2016, but after the building's lease holders decided they did not want a competing coffee force in the location, Thunder Coffee closed the shop doors and have been operating as a pop-up coffee shop since 2017.
Skyler Dutton said their business is more than just coffee, it’s about connecting.
“We want to impact people’s lives in a positive way through coffee,” he said.
The coffee shop will employ five to eight staff members; and at this time, it will be the only stationary coffee vendor in a one-mile radius of downtown West Fargo.
The West Fargo City Commission recently granted Thunder Coffee a $75,000 enterprise grant to begin work on the new shop. The grant, which is made available through dedicated sales tax funds, aims to attract new retail to the area.
About 6,000 square feet of retail space remains in Pioneer Place remains available.
Thunder Coffee is expected to open in September.