Upstream Coffee opens on Main Avenue South

By: Eric Sandbulte, The Brookings Register

There’s no better way to start your day than with a fresh cup of coffee; that’s what Matt Naughton has found out as he welcomes customers to his new coffee shop, Upstream Coffee.

Opened Wednesday and located at 510 South Main, the quiet store with a soft outdoorsy feel has fishing décor and seats aplenty for thirsty customers. And there is plenty of liquid energy to chose from: lattes, teas (regular and iced), espressos, Americanos, to name a few of its beverage offerings.

“If it’s just me, depending on how it’s made, I am a big fan of the white mochas. I do like the vanilla latte as well; I’m kind of boring as far as that goes,” he said. “My wife likes the caramel macchiatos.”

Part of the business model that Naughton’s instilled at Upstream is an emphasis on the local, with as many products coming from the Brookings area as possible.

The coffee beans, for example, are provided by local roaster Westbound Coffee, and Naughton’s looking into having Bizzy Lizzy baked goods on sale, too. Some doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, Danishes and muffins will also be sold.

He’s done a lot with the space to transform it from its past lives as a car dealership and as a bank. Two office rooms are gone now to make way for the main counter area, and a prep area now sits beside the drive-thru window.

The nice, wide-open floor space was well suited to be turned into a seating area for 20 people. For those who need a quieter and more removed space, there is even a trio of privacy nooks. Two of them, featuring more of an office-like setting, can be reserved along with a pot of coffee.

After some struggling, Naughton came up with the name, and he designed the logo seen on its bright yellow sign himself, too.

“I knew what I wanted out of this, but all of the name options I had were just not fitting it right. Upstream Coffee was the one that just slid into place,” he said.

Regarding the store’s theme, he said, “It’s not overbearing. … It’s definitely trying to fit Brookings into here. I don’t want to overdo it and put deer heads on the wall. But definitely kind of the outdoorsy theme. Nice and relaxing.”

Naughton had worn several different hats before he started the hard work of opening Upstream, but none of them were coffee-related. He’s worked at Verizon, done market analyses, and worked at the Flandreau Indian School.

But one day, after driving past the empty lot where they now have set up shop, he and his wife thought out loud to themselves that it’d be a great spot for a coffee or doughnut shop.

When the idea stuck and they looked at the numbers, it just made sense, Naughton said.

It’s a bit of a whim considering Naughton has never been much of a coffee guy, the occasional cup from Starbucks notwithstanding, but he’s warming up to the diverse range of caffeine.

“Now that I’ve been taste testing and doing all that, I’ve come to enjoy it a lot more,” Naughton said. To make up for his own inexperience, he’s taken on a coffee expert as a manager to ensure that everything’s done properly.

One of the things he’s most excited about is serving the southern side of town, and he knows people are just as thrilled.

“Everybody is excited about having a coffee shop on this side of town. We’ve had people drop in since I’ve had the sign up, saying how excited they are for that. I know Brookings is not a huge town, but for whatever reason, it seems like a long drive from this side of town over to all the other coffee places and all the other businesses on that side of town.”

With that public enthusiasm in mind, he encouraged people to stop by for a cup.

“The place will definitely be an enjoyable place to come sit down and enjoy yourself and enjoy the great coffee that Westbound makes,” he said.

Business hours are 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days a week.

Contact Eric Sandbulte at esandbulte@brookingsregister.com.

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