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Caffeinated cheers to 30 years

Door County Coffee celebrates three decades with a rebrand

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May 17, 2023

CARLSVILLE – Located just more than halfway up Wisconsin’s Peninsula, directly off of WI-42, sits Door County Coffee (DCC), a cafe and retail shop that satiates all its customers’ caffeinated needs.

This year, DCC is celebrating its 30th anniversary, one owner Vicki Wilson said she could never believe “in my wildest dreams.”
“When you start a business, you don’t really think, ‘what’s it going to be like in 30 years?’” she said. 

And, with the milestone came a new look at DCC, one Wilson said is “revolutionary.”

New branding, same beans
Since opening in 1993, DCC has seen a total of five different logos – the original from 1993, one in 1999, another in 2006, one in 2011 and 2023’s new logo.

However, Wilson said the 30-year rebrand is different.

“I would say the last four years, we were really earnest with trying to bring the brand up to date and to resonate more with people that love Door County,” she said. “My oldest son, who is our director of business development and innovation, said, ‘hey mom, we’re going to change this – let’s do it.’”

The change, Wilson said, was anything but simple.

“It was a pretty drastic change,” she said. “It took us a while to really get where we felt we wanted to be.” 

Wilson said the process of recreating the DCC brand and receiving feedback was “all anecdotal.”

“We didn’t send out surveys,” she said. “We just showed our family and friends. Most everyone at first went, ‘wow, that’s different’ and ‘Wow, I like it.’”

Part of the redesigning process, Wilson said, meant creating a logo that was “a little bit more approachable” – bringing in elements of Door County that people love. 

To achieve that, she said, DCC’s new logo is left-justified and all lowercase – a stark contrast from the most recent logo before.
“We had a huge discussion on the lowercase because we had always been uppercase,” she said. “We said, ‘you know what, it’s okay. Dare to be different.’ I’m hopeful that people will really love it.”

Wilson said the coffee bag designs are “colorful, cheerful and a little more energetic.”

DCC’s new look also aims to attract a new generation, she said. 

“We hope we attract a younger audience that tries it perhaps for the first time, and they fall in love with the coffee just like our loyal fans have done for years,” she said.

Long-time supporters of DCC may have noticed the company had dropped off the tea portion of its logo, but Wilson said tea is still available for purchase.

// County Coffee opened in 1993, and is celebrating its 30th year with a rebrand and new packaging. Photo Courtesy of Door County Coffee

“All these years we’ve been in business, we’ve always answered the phone (with) ‘Door County Coffee,’ and it’s kind of a mouthful,” she said. “The majority of our business is in coffee, and we (decided) it’s confusing sometimes to have Door County Coffee & Tea on a coffee bag.”

Wilson said the store still has a vast assortment of loose teas.

We still sell our tea… but, it’s really such a small piece of the business,” she said.

Customers can also expect to see changes to the merchandise offered in the retail portion of the store, though Wilson said it’s always been revolving.

“The retail store – it’s changed a lot over the years to maintain freshness and relevance to consumer changes,” she said. “Our buyer is constantly looking at what’s selling. We still have great gourmet food and things that customers who love coffee would naturally like, but we’ve gotten far more into women’s accessories.”

Despite all the new changes to DCC, Wilson said one thing is staying the same – the coffee.

“We’re hopeful that people will easily see it and say, ‘oh, I liked it – same coffee, new look,’” she said.

The impact
Wilson said she expects the impact of DCC’s new brand to be “hugely positive” for business. 

“The brand changeover shouldn’t be as difficult because we have so many stores that feature our brand,” she said. “Costco will have the new bag… Target has the new bag. We buy film on rolls, and that’s how we bag… Once we’re done with the black film, (then) we’re only making the blue, so it should turn around pretty quickly.”

Wilson said she has already heard from customers who have shared their thoughts on the new packaging.

“I’ll get emails from people – which I just did…,” she said. “They’ll call and thank us or tell us it’s their favorite (packaging) or crazy things I would never think of sending to a company. But we love those testimonials.”

The 30-year rebrand, Wilson said, also holds a lot of meaning for her.

// Wilson

“It has been a blast these 30 years,” she said. “We’ve been able to grow our business, hire wonderful people, and they’ve had some great careers. In 30 years, you can imagine we’ve had some stellar employees retire from the company… I cannot give enough credit to the staff, the ones that have stayed with us, started with us and the folks that are here now. Everyone brings a little bit of their own talent to the business, and it makes one heck of a great caffeinated team.”

An unexpected start
Wilson said the idea behind Door County Coffee sprouted after a weekend getaway to the peninsula 30 years ago.

“(I was) celebrating my friend’s birthday, and leaving (Door County) was difficult, like it always is,” she said. “I said, ‘if we could only figure out a way to live here.’ That same day, I read an article about a coffee roaster in Madison.”

That, Wilson said, is when “the light bulb went on.”

“I thought, ‘I love coffee, I love Door County, I think we can do this,’” she said. “That was 30-plus years ago… we had to go to the Yellow Pages to get any information… there was Door County everything – bakery, candy, but no coffee.”

After doing research, Wilson said she and her husband trademarked the name Door County Coffee & Tea Co.

“Thirty years ago, there really wasn’t a gourmet coffee shop on every corner… we just went in full speed ahead,” she said. “We started and worked really hard to learn all we could about coffee and all we could about the process and developed lots of different items. Fortunately, the customers loved it.”

Door County Coffee is open 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week.

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