Former city manager chooses career in coffee

Kaya Vonburg, one of the baristas at Scooter's Coffee in Scottsbluff, works on an order. She's one of what owner Gary Rimington calls an awesome staff. Scooter's is opening a second store in Scottsbluff this fall.

SCOTTSBLUFF — People needing a morning coffee fix will soon have a new place to visit on the west side of town as Scooter’s Coffee opens a second store at Avenue I and West Overland this fall.

Gary Rimington opened his first Scooter’s in November 2016 on Avenue B in Scottsbluff. That was followed by another shop opening in Alliance in August 2018. The third store, across the street from the Sinclair convenience store, should be open in September.

Rimington said that since he opened his first shop three years ago, business has been good. He credits that to the community that has been very supportive. That support is what’s enabled him to open a store in Alliance.

While he had the opportunity to open a third store in other locations, he made the business decision to open another store in Scottsbluff.

“The traffic flow on Avenue B and Avenue I and how the workforce flows made this a prime piece of real estate for what we wanted to do,” he said. “I hope it will be very convenient for the public to drive in. Easy in, easy out with fast customer service is what we always strive for.”

While Scooter’s offers a wide variety of hot, iced and blended coffee concoctions, one of the best sellers is their cinnamon rolls. Breakfast burritos and breakfast sandwiches, scones and muffins are also on the menu.

“What really sets us apart is the speed we can fulfill an order,” Rimington said. “That’s because we have some of the best employees bar-none. They do a phenomenal job and are the foundation of our business. Customers really appreciate that.”

It was almost a whim that got Rimington into the coffee business. He spent 25 years in municipal government, serving as assistant city manager in Laramie, Wyoming, before a term as city administrator for the City of Gering.

Then he was in real estate development for Cabela’s for eight-plus years. But as Cabela’s started to flounder, Rimington started looking at other opportunities.

“I saw an ad in the Star-Herald that said Scooter’s was looking for franchisees for Scottsbluff,” he said. “I looked to my wife and half-heartedly said maybe we should open a coffee shop.”

After a lot of research into the Omaha-based company, Rimington applied for and received a franchise for the Scottsbluff market.

“We’ve had a fair amount of growth since then and we’re very thankful and blessed for that,” he said.

What does he like about the business? It’s all the people he works with. “Being a person my age, I enjoy being around a young workforce. They keep me young and having a different perspective on life,” he said.

He also enjoys the interaction he has with the customers. “As the business continues to grow, I’ve gotten away from that, but I miss it,” he said. “It’s a good feeling to know you helped make someone’s day better.”

Being on the front line of the coffee business as a barista and filling orders is a specialty in itself. “Being a good barista requires knowing and memorizing coffee formulas, being quick on your feet and with your hands and being able to multitask all at the same time,” he said. “It’s a young person’s game.”

He said the area Scooter’s Coffee stores are truly a family business. His son Grant manages the Scottsbluff store and his son Nathan manages in Alliance.

Today, Rimington spends most of his time making sure the stores are operating efficiently. “I’m the maintenance man, the milk delivery guy and I’m very good at washing towels.”

jpurvis@starherld.com

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Jerry Purvis is a reporter with the Star-Herald. He can be reached at 308-632-9046 or emailed at jpurvis@starherald.com.

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