GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Southern Oregon born and based coffee company Dutch Bros made its debut on the stock market Wednesday, and it had all the hallmarks of a breakout success — peaking at more than $40 per share after an initial expectation that shares would go for between $18 and $20. Dutch Bros closed the day at $36.68 per share.
With Wednesday's premiere, Dutch Bros became Oregon's first major initial public offering (IPO) since 2004, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported, and the largest in the state's history. The company is now valued in the neighborhood of $6 billion.
"It's a mindblow, man," co-founder Travis Boersma told NewsWatch 12 on Wednesday morning. "Who would have thought that you could take a coffee cart in a small little town like Grants Pass — really do what you hear about as you grow up as a kid, you know, the American dream — and actually go out and pull it off.
"We've defied the odds, and I couldn't be more ecstatic about where it sits and what's happening . . . you know, it's surreal."
Dutch Bros was founded in 1992 by brothers Travis and Dane Boersma as a single pushcart coffee stand in downtown Grants Pass. The first franchise opened in 2000, and the coffee company's reach has spread steadily in the years since — currently with roughly 450 locations between 10 states.
Dane Boersma was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and passed away in 2009, and Travis Boersma has captained the Dutch ship ever since. In 2018, Dutch Bros engaged private equity firm TSG to invest in the growing company and help successfully expand its reach. Earlier this year, the news started percolating that Dutch Bros would be going public, which was confirmed in August.
"We knew when we made the decision to go with TSG as a private equity investor that an exit is imminent," Boersma said. "We thought back then, and believe today, that taking the company public is the best exit for TSG — the timing seemed like it was best, and the impact that it's gonna make in all of our peoples' lives is immense.
"That's the purpose of taking the company public, is really to be able to take care of the people who have helped to get us here and make sure that we are providing opportunities for the people that really are motivated and driven to grow up in the organization and go kick ass out in the field."
Dutch Bros under Boersma's leadership has a reputation as a workplace that values both its employees and the community in which they work, and he says that going public won't change that as long as he has anything to do with it.
"The business philosophy that we have is really built around a people-first concept, I think that is part of our secret sauce in our culture," Boersma said. "And so as long as I'm captain of the ship, man, and I have the control in the final decisions that I can make, that sets us up to be able to make sure that that philosophy that we live and breathe and die by is at the forefront of our mind."
Going public doesn't really impact what Dutch Bros' business plans are going forward, Boersma said — they plan to focus on steady growth while taking care of their organization and their people.