Anyone looking for a quick cup of coffee and a tasty bite to eat, can use their cellphone to order ahead and make a pit stop at The Frothy Dog, Geraldine’s new coffee shop.
Phillip and Charlotte Dooley have had their mind set on opening a coffee shop for years, but it took time for things to fall into place. In fact, it took nearly a decade for Phillip Dooley, from Geraldine, and Charlotte Dooley, from Albertville, to open the doors on their own coffee shop.
“In 2007, we talked with the previous owners of Jamoka’s [in Boaz], which was for sale at the time,” Phillip Dooley said. “We backed out because they couldn’t guarantee a long-term lease at the hospital. My wife really had a drive to do it, but we were afraid to sink a lot of money into it and not have a long-term lease. We also had pre-teens and we also had no idea what it takes to run a successful business.”
Phillip Dooley said they kept the idea of opening a coffee shop in the back of their mind, but it took a while for the economy to bounce back and for them to find a good location and reasonable lease.
“We saw a business come open in Geraldine,” Phillip Dooley said. “We wanted a drive-thru, if we could make that happen, this was our chance.”
Everything worked out for the Dooleys, and they set out to open The Frothy Dog. Phillip Dooley, a Geraldine native and Steel Safe Shelters salesman, knew quick service was going to be a key to their success.
“As far as I know, Starbucks is the only one with an order ahead app,” he said. “We’re in little Geraldine, but we have a lot of traffic on the four-lane [Alabama Highway 75]. So, I knew we needed a drive-thru because we have very little stack-up room out front, we can only park three or four cars.”
He started looking for an app that could take an order for coffee as well as orders for a light breakfast or lunch. He came across an app called Quick Cup developed by Keith McCormick, Alaska’s 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year.
According to the Quick Cup fact sheet, “Quick Cup is focused on a single mission: to get coffee-cravers to their favorite cup of java in the shortest time possible. This eliminates the No. 1 problem that other coffee mobile app users encounter: arriving too late and finding a cold cup of joe or getting there too soon and having to wait for their order to be completed.”
Phillip Dooley said that was exactly what he was looking for. With the Quick Cup app, customers can place an order ahead for a Frothy Dog frappe, espresso, cappuccino, latte or just plain coffee. They can also order ahead from the breakfast menu, which includes a toasted bagel sandwich, glazed donut, a killer cinnamon roll, or order a marble Ruben, Southwest panini, Italian roast beef sandwich, autumn chicken salad or a good’ol grilled cheese from the lunch menu.
When a customer places an order with the Quick Cup app, the order pops up on an iPad to show the baristas the customer’s name, a photo of the customer, the customer’s order and a countdown until the customer arrives at the drive-thru.
The Frothy Dog has only been open about five weeks, and Phillip Dooley said their business is beginning to grow.
“When we opened, I wanted to do a soft open,” he said. “I wanted to train our employees and get them comfortable before I threw then to the wolves with a grand opening. But, we hadn’t been open but a couple of hours and it got posted on Facebook, and then it got busy.”
Since opening, Phillip Dooley said The Frothy Dogs gets about 25 percent of its orders through Quick Cup and business has been steady. He said he wants to evaluate how the coffee business in small town Geraldine goes.
“Starbucks made the coffee business what it is today,” Dooley said. “People say Geraldine is a small town and they can’t believe The Frothy Dog is here. As long as we can get people to come here and support us, we’ll be here for the long haul.
“We’ll see how well this model does in a small town. We may branch out to the small towns where Starbucks won’t go. That may be our niche if we scale things up.”
The Frothy Dog is located at 41848 Alabama Highway 75 in Geraldine. Business hours are Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.