Nine more Moxie Javas rebranding as Caffe Capri

Brad Iverson-Long//March 28, 2013

Nine more Moxie Javas rebranding as Caffe Capri

Brad Iverson-Long//March 28, 2013

Several long-standing Moxie Java coffee shops will be switching brands in April. Photo by Brad Iverson-Long.

Boise will soon have more Caffe Capri coffee shops, as at least seven current Moxie Java locations will switch brands and coffee ingredients in the first two weeks of April. In addition, a Moxie Java in a shopping center on 17th and State streets will close after the stores change brands.

The first store rebranding to the Italian-inspired Caffe Capri will happen in Vista Village on Boise’s Bench on April 2, with subsequent changes likely happening in a two-week period.

The nine stores undergoing changes are owned by Evergreen Partners, formerly known as Treasure Valley Investment Group. The ownership group was part of a lawsuit with Moxie Java alleging breach of contract and price discrimination. That case, which involved owners of several former Moxie Java shops, was settled out of court.

Pat Davidson, managing member of Evergreen Partners, would not comment on the lawsuit or settlement, though he said the company’s agreement with Moxie Java is expiring. He said customers will see new signs and some new ingredients and coffee offerings, but the same people will be serving the coffee.

“There’s no change in managers, no change in baristas and no change in what they provide, other than improvements,” Davidson said. The nine stores have 55 employees. Davidson said the improvements include better ingredients and training for baristas on skills such as making latte art, in which baristas pour steaming milk to make patterns on the top of the drink.

“(Customers) should be delighted that the drinks are going to be much higher quality,” he said.

The Caffe Capri brand came to Boise when several former Tully’s coffee shops switched in 2012. The brand is licensed by Caffe D’arte, a Seattle-based coffee roaster and retailer that runs a coffee shop in Bodo in Boise among the five shops it owns outright. Caffe Capri also has stores in Hayden as well as Spokane and Yakima, Wash. Caffe D’arte also sells roasted coffee to more than 1,500 independent and wholesale customers.

Joe Mancuso, general manager for Caffe D’arte, said training is important for Caffe D’arte and Caffe Capri.

“We’re really big in the training and educational side of coffee,” he said, which includes how to use espresso machines, how to steam milk and techniques like latte art. “There are thousands of variables that can make your coffee phenomenal, but those thousands of variables can also make your coffee taste not phenomenal.”

Davidson said the Moxie Java on 17th and State, owned by Evergreen Partners, will close on or near May 1 due to poor performance. Another store on State Street, west of Veterans Parkway, will be remodeled and turned into a Caffe Capri. He said two other Moxie Java stores owned by Evergreen could switch to another brand of coffee shop or a different type of store.

All of Evergreen’s stores are located in Boise. Other Moxie Java stores changing over are on Bogus Basin Road in the North End, next to CenturyLink Arena in downtown Boise, on Milwaukee Avenue across from Boise Towne Square Mall, on Parkcenter Boulevard near Albertson’s corporate offices, at Parkcenter and Apple Street, and connected to a Jacksons Food Store at Fairview Avenue and Liberty Street. 

In January, several former Moxie Java stores turned into Lucky Perk Coffee shops. The owner of those stores was also part of the settled court case with Moxie Java.

Moxie Java International President Rick Dean said the remaining Moxie Java locations have done well since the Lucky Perk change, with some customers staying loyal to the Moxie Java brand.

“They liked the smoothness of the Moxie Java coffee,” Dean said, adding that some customers also value the company’s charitable work. Moxie Java opened a new location at the corner of Fairview Avenue and Locust Grove Road in mid-March, which has also done well, according to Dean.

Dean would like to open 10 more franchised Moxie Java coffee shops in the Treasure Valley in the next three years, though he hasn’t announced any specific locations.

“We have a lot of people that are very interested in opening stores,” said Dean. Right now, real estate agents and potential owners are researching possible locations, analyzing traffic counts, capture rates and other factors.

The Treasure Valley has had a steady stream of recent coffee shop activity. Drive-thru stand Dutch Bros. continues to expand. Competing drive-thru chain The Human Bean has reopened its drive-thru locations under new ownership.

Coffee is big business in Idaho and many other states. Nationally, coffee and snack shops had $28 billion in revenues in 2012, with profits of $1.6 billion, according to analysis by IBIS World. Industry profitability is likely to improve, with sales increasing as consumers hit by the recession begin to indulge again on higher-priced items. However, coffee consumption, a driver in coffee and snack shop growth, is expected to decrease slowly in 2013.

Nima Samadi, senior analyst with the independent market research firm IBIS World, said more people are drinking alternatives to coffee, including energy drinks and tea. He said tea-specific stores, including recent Starbucks acquisition Teavana, are a growth area. Stores are also doing well by broadening their menu.

“They’ve put a lot of effort into diversifying their menus,” Samadi said. “You see a lot of traditional coffee shops and larger chains segmenting into smoothies and light food menus.”

IBISWorld estimates that nearly half of all coffee and snack shops are small businesses with fewer than 10 employees. However, the top two players in the industry, including the Seattle-based Starbucks, which has several locations in the Treasure Valley, and the Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ Donuts, account for 60 percent of the market share for coffee and snack shops.

Samadi said low startup costs and a variety of niches for coffee shops allow some opportunity for small one-store or small-chain stores to pop up. However, those stores face strong competition from larger chains like Starbucks.

“You’re seeing smaller shops closing up shops because they can’t compete with larger brand names,” he said.