GRANTS PASS, OR--(Marketwire - Nov 22, 2011) - Dutch Bros. Coffee has opened its first "Employee Rock Star" location today, Tuesday, Nov. 22, in Moses Lake, Wash. In May, Dutch Bros. announced Kristen Ennis Nelson, 26, the winner of the inaugural contest in which Dutch Bros. bestows an outstanding employee with their own store.

The Dutch Bros. "Rock Star Program" was created in 2010 as a way to reward employees who exemplify the Dutch Bros. culture and would like to be a franchise owner, but don't have the necessary funds. The company plans to give away up to five Rock Star properties every year.

"The culture of Dutch Bros. is so amazing. It's always been so much more than a good cup of coffee," said Nelson. "I'm absolutely thrilled to open my very own Dutch Bros. location in Moses Lake, continuing to spread the Dutch 'Luv' by providing local jobs, community support and, of course, great coffee."

Nelson started her career at Dutch Bros. in 2003 in Woodland, Calif., and has worked at the Albany, Salem and Brookings, Ore. locations, where she was mentored by franchise owners Sean Provost, Aaron Eastman and Tony Jantzer, respectively.

To narrow down the rock-star candidates, Dutch Bros. did extensive research into the employees who'd been nominated. Research included several secret shopping missions designed to gauge what you can't assess on paper, but is the ultimate Dutch Bros test: an employee's demeanor at the window. "It was important to look for someone who elicited the culture of Dutch Bros., someone who is genuine and really cares about the customers, and that's something that you just can't fake," said Dave Morris, vice president of public relations. "Kristen excelled at the window. She went above and beyond in her attention to detail and in her attitude, and blew our minds. We knew she was the one."

The store location will be at 121 N. Stratford Rd. in Moses Lake. In honor of the grand opening, the new Dutch Bros. store will offer free drinks all day, from 5:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.

About Dutch Bros. Coffee
Founded in Southern Oregon in 1992 by brothers Dane and Travis Boersma, Dutch Bros. Coffee is the country's largest privately-held, drive-thru coffee company. There are nearly 170 locations in Oregon, California, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona. Each store serves a large variety of specialty coffee drinks made with a premium private bean blend and roasted fresh daily. Last year, Dutch Bros. served more than 25 million cups of coffee. Dutch Bros. Coffee gives back one percent of gross sales to their communities. In 2010, the company donated more than $1 million to nonprofit organizations including local food banks, Muscular Dystrophy Association, American Cancer Society, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and many other organizations. Dutch Bros. Coffee is headquartered in Grants Pass, Ore. For more information on franchising, or to learn more about Dutch Bros., visit, Facebook and Twitter.

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Kristin Heilman