For the past 15 years, Judy Morse has run multiple coffee shops all over the country while her husband served in the U.S. Army, documenting recipes and business ideas in a notebook in the hopes of one day owning a coffee shop of her own.
Now that her husband’s military career is nearing its end, the timing was finally right to launch Flitter Bee Buzz Thru, a drive-thru coffee shop in Columbia Falls in the Super 1 parking lot.
“When the time came, I referenced my book and established a whole plan,” Morse said. “Floor plan design and everything. I had it all from years of working at other shops.”
In her brand new 312-square-foot coffee drive thru, Morse has two espresso machines with two registers and two employees working simultaneously for efficiency. She also had a custom coffee roast made by Fieldheads Coffee Roasting Co. in Bigfork, which they made specifically for her business, along with baked goods, real fruit smoothies, protein shakes and more.
Morse started making espresso drinks in 2001 and quickly developed a passion for it, and grew to appreciate the coffee grinds, tamping and the difference between creaming milk when steaming it instead of just heating it up.
“It’s the different things that go into making really good coffee and it’s fun for me,” Morse said.
When Morse worked at other coffee shops, she remembers serving pre-packaged baked goods, which she vowed never to do when she opened her own business. Morse makes a variety of fresh grab-and-go croissants, including pizza and ham and cheese, and she serves soup and a roll every day for lunch.
In addition to savory items, she’ll also have a gluten-free protein cookie and lavender honey Rice Krispies treats.
While Morse is excited to bring more coffee and baked goods to the fast-growing Columbia Falls area, she also looks forward to meeting her customers.
“Seeing people every day and learning their names and hearing what they have to tell me, that’s another part of it,” she said. “You feel you’re part of the community when they come through. I knew all of my regulars drinks before they came up to the window.”
Morse also wanted to accommodate early-morning commuters like construction workers and snow plow drivers, and set her weekday hours starting at 4:30 a.m.
Until Morse’s husband finishes his military career, for which she is counting down the remaining 22 months, she’ll bounce back and forth between the Flathead Valley and Washington, where she’s in the process of selling her house.
Both originally from Whitefish, Morse and her husband met in the third grade and reconnected after high school and got married. After following his Army career around the country for the past 18 years, moving about every two years, Morse is ready to bring her roots back to the Flathead Valley and start the business she’s hoped to have for more than a decade
“I dreamed about this for the last 15 years,” she said.
Flitter Bee Buzz Thru is located at 2120 Ninth St. W. in Columbia Falls in front of Super 1. Hours are Monday through Friday from 4:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, visit Flitter Bee Buzz Thru on Facebook.
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