A Mesa couple has made sure The Fix is in close to Ahwatukee.
Except this one comes with a hot, caffeinated buzz.
The East Valley’s latest entrant in the drive-through coffee craze launched its first stand two months ago at the Tempe Auto Mall.
Now, Mesa officials have approved The Fix’s plan to build a second stand at Higley and McKellips roads.
“It’s kind of always been in the back of my mind I wanted to have my own drive-through coffee stand,” said Hunter Stewart, a Mesa resident who is the company’s 24-year-old owner and manager.
So, instead of trying to break through the saturated Oregon coffee market, Stewart followed his snowbird parents to Arizona to follow his dream.
Stewart said The Fix is combining the best aspects of all the popular drive-through establishments with a local flair.
“This is about building relationships,” Stewart said. “I would like to say we’re not in the coffee business, we’re in the relationship business.”
It’s a business Stewart has dreamed about since he started working at Dutch Bros. in Oregon, as a 17-year-old.
During his six years with the nationally known brand, he rose up the ranks, becoming a store manager and eventually a trainer of the managers.
“I really just learned the ins and outs of the coffee business,” Stewart said.
Stewart’s parents were the first to move to Arizona earlier this decade. Matt and Darcy Stewart once owned a contracting business in Oregon, and they were able to use cash from some rentals they owned there to spend half the year in Arizona.
“It was my son’s dream to open the stand,” Matt Stewart said.
The Stewarts and extended family members began helping put that dream into action. Using their construction connections, they were approved for the first The Fix location in the Auto Mall in Tempe.
Matt and Darcy are working on the business side of the operations, while Hunter focuses on running the stand.
Now the opening of the Mesa location isn’t too far off. The family said it’s ready to submit for permits and a few modifications to the site plan.
“It was almost like it was meant to be when the landlord told us (the city) wouldn’t let anybody else use the location unless it was drive-through coffee,” Hunter said.
The Stewarts are also focused on establishing their brand in a market where Dutch Bros., Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts already dominate the coffee game.
The company is using coffee beans roasted by Press coffee, a popular local brand. Plus, they’re selling Bosa Donuts, a Valley staple for a quarter century.
“First off, we are cheaper than all our competitors,” Stewart said. “There are a lot of things I think we do better than our competitors. We take pride in what we do.”
Stewart said another thing that will set them apart from other coffee stands is charity work.
“Giving back is huge for me,” Stewart said. “I know a lot of people and a lot of businesses talk about giving back, which is awesome. But people do it more for publicity than they truly feel it in their hearts. Giving back fills my cup for me.”
“That’s just who I am,” Stewart said. “There’s no better way to start off my morning than with a coffee and a smile. To me you can’t go wrong with that.”
Stewart said he wouldn’t mind if people treated it like the local neighborhood bar.
“I like helping people get that comfortable feeling that they can come through the stand when they’re having a bad day,” Stewart said. “It’s cool. Things happen."