Dairy Bean

By Kathryn Menue


The Dairy Bean opened in Poplar Grove on Wednesday, July 13.

To make their opening official, The Dairy Bean held a grand opening ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 6 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

“I decided to do the opening [on Saturday, Aug. 6] because I wanted to allow time for the staff to be fully operational and comfortable with making the menu items,” store manager and owner Dawn London said. “Also, this was the date 96.7 The Eagle had open for us.”

The Eagle radio station, out of Rockford, provided music, entertainment, and opening day advertisement for The Dairy Bean.

They also helped conduct the grand opening raffle customers could enter for prizes. Entrants had to be present to win one of the many exciting giveaways including: a night stay at Chula Vista in Wisconsin Dells, passes to Santa’s Village, passes to Magic Waters, and passes to area golf courses, The Dairy Bean morning manager Nikki Emmerson said.

Besides the extra gifts, The Dairy Bean specialized in coffee-based drinks along with other liquid creations.

Dairy Bean 2“I feel The Dairy Bean is unique in so many ways,” London said. “First, we specialize in frozen custard and coffee. Myself and a few of my staff members come with many years of experience with Starbucks. We forged so many relationships with our customers there. When my husband and I got married in 2014, a few of them were at my wedding. Many of my customers are very loyal regulars from Starbucks, and I love that that relationship is still there. I try to relay the importance of those relationships to my staff.”

The staff took their knowledge and created smoothies, root beer floats, hot chocolate, and blended drinks for customers. Plus, they served coffees, lattes, teas, and espressos from JavaMania Coffee Roastery, another local chain that has specialized in coffee for the past 14 years.

“I definitely try and work with local businesses,” London said. “My coffee is all locally roasted in Loves Park; my pastries are baked in house by a couple local women (also Starbucks customers) who are involved in the local farming market community.”

The localness of the coffee and other products definitely appealed to customers.

“I’ve had JavaMania coffee before and I really like it,” customer Ranay Ivan, of Candlewick Lake, said. She said it is nice to have a local place serve local products.

If customers aren’t interested in breakfast items, The Dairy Bean also specializes in frozen custard, sundaes, malts, shakes, mixers, and swirled custard based desserts. For the customers with an extra sweet tooth, The Dairy Bean has candies customers can add to their custard.

“I think it’s so nice to see something like this in Poplar Grove,” Ivan said. “It’s like a Culver’s and Starbucks all in one.”

The Dairy Bean provides sweet treats for canines with a doggy cone to go too.

Customers in a hurry can pick up their orders to go by using the convenient drive thru service at The Dairy Bean. Or, customers can take a seat in the modern, yet rustic and homey eating area. Patrons also can sit outside in the patio garden to enjoy their coffee and custard.

The Dairy Bean offers quite a few aesthetics for the whole family to enjoy. Chalk and chalk boards were available for children to doodle on and artwork for sale decorated the walls of the business. The artwork comes from Nancy LaPointe’s local business, Second Hand Rose. The artwork is created by local artist.

“If someone were to buy a piece, I don’t take any fees out of that price; all of that money goes to the artist,” London said. “We are a local business, trying to support other local businesses.”

In addition to the artwork for sale, customers could purchase 1803 Candles in perfect evening and perfect morning scents as well.

All of this was made possible over one incident at Starbucks.

London loved working at the Starbucks in Machesney Park for six and a half years as a supervisor. She originally worked at the Belvidere branch with the woman who hired her. The two became great friends working together, but her friend left after a year.

One day, her old friend came into the Starbucks and London gave her an iced coffee without charging her.

“A few weeks later, my district manager called me into the back room along with the store manager and within a matter of minutes, I was let go from the company – no warning, no write-up,” London said. “Was it wrong? Yes. However, I was a very hard working employee with a lot of time with the company, and I was shoved out the door like I held the place up at gun point. To say I was devastated is an understatement.”

However, London picked herself back up to start her own business.

“After some time had passed, I realized I had the capability to venture out on my own, and thanks to a supportive husband and some coworkers who believed in me, I was able to put it [The Dairy Bean] together,” London said.

Now, the Poplar Grove and surrounding communities are thankful for Starbucks folly, for they now have great coffee and more.

Being a local coffee place instead of a franchise, The Dairy Bean has the capacity to give back to the local community more.

The Dairy Bean will host another special event on Saturday, Aug. 13. They will host a pet meet and greet in collaboration with Winnebago County Animal Services from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. This will give animal lovers an opportunity to meet “four-legged friends” that are in need of a good home. Adoption information will be available at the event.

“Myself and my staff are very excited about this,” London said.

This pet event also will give people an opportunity to donate needed supplies to the shelter.

Items especially needed for the shelter are bleach, wet cat and dog food of any brand, hot dogs, and laundry soap of any brand.

Other items the shelter needs are eight ounce Dixie cups with wax siding, paper towel rolls, buster cubes (on Amazon), KMR powdered kitten replacement milk, powdered puppy replacement milk, puppy and kitten baby bottles, 30 inch Kuranda beds, hand sanitizer, outward hound fun feeder slow feed interactive bloat stop dog bowls (on Amazon), Midwest stainless steel Snap’y Firt water and feed bowls (on Amazon), OurPets basic stainless steel, one pint, dog bowls (on Amazon), Equustock pine pellets (at Farm and Fleet or Cherry Valley Feed and Supplies), buckle dog collars (medium and large), gentle leaders, easy-walk harnesses, cat cuddler mats from Petsmart, new or gently used reusable tote bags (for adopters), 12 quart plastic wash pans, old towels, fleece blankets, tug jug dog toys, stainless steel bowls (large and small), bite-sized dog treats (liver treats are good for training), steam table pans (available at GFS), six inch boomer balls (at boomerball.com), Science Diet dog and cat food, Science Diet puppy and kitten food, Thundershirts (small, medium, and large), cat toys (washable), large and extra large Kongs (black), shredded paper (no short-cut or cross-cut), and newspaper (newsprint only-do not include ads).

To find out what else the shelter might need, visit: http://www.wcasrock.org/index/php/support/wish-list.

The Dairy Bean also will host a cruise night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26 where classic car lovers can showcase their cars to the public, while also enjoying some sweet treats throughout the evening.

The Dairy Bean is located at 13561 Julie Dr. in Poplar Grove in the old Custard Cone building. Their hours are Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

To view a menu of The Dairy Bean’s sweet treats and drinks, visit www.locu.com.

For more information about the business, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thedairybean or call at (815) 765-2500.


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