The Effingham Plan Commission has given its thumbs up to a new drive-through coffee shop on Keller Drive.
“This is our first commercial undertaking,” said Nate Zimmer, who is developing The Human Bean, a franchise coffee shop, with his wife Katie Zimmer.
“The city has been great to work with,” said Katie Zimmer.
The pair have been in the east central Illinois property development and realty business for several years, having held roles at Eastern Illinois Properties and ZimCo Realty, both family businesses.
The Human Bean in Effingham will be a 600 square foot shop, primarily focused on drive through customers. It’s planned to go up at 406 North Keller Drive, next to Effingham Veterinary Clinic.
Nate Zimmer brought plans for the franchise to the Plan Commission last month, but they were rejected primarily because the drive through did not have a bypass lane — extra space for cars or emergency vehicles to pass the queue if needed.
“We wanted the bypass lane,” said Nate Zimmer. “That required a lot more concrete.”
Having redesigned the plan, Zimmer came back to the commission and received the go ahead. The plan will now be reviewed by city staff and the Illinois Department of Transportation before being presented to the city council for approval. City council rarely rejects the Plan Commission’s vote.
The company, which operates as a franchise model, has over 200 locations open or under development in 23 states, according to their website.
“We plan to get going pretty quick,” said Nate Zimmer when asked about the timeline of the project. He and Katie expect the establishment to open in late fall at the earliest.
The Human Bean isn’t the only new coffee option coming to Effingham. On South Banker Street, the Teutopolis-based cafe and roastery Fox Holler Coffee is renovating the former DDA Offroad & Audio building at 1200 South Banker Street.
At the Effingham City Council’s June 1 meeting, city commissioners discussed whether to award the shop a grant of $6,700 to help in renovating the building. The council was favorable and is expected to formally approve the grant at their next meeting on June 15.
“We’re always happy when we see improvements on the south end of town,” said City Commissioner Hank Stephens at the meeting.
The grant will cover 25% of the eligible costs of this phase of renovation and will be funded through property taxes from that area of the city.
Jason Semple, who was at the meeting representing the coffee shop, said they are aiming for opening the new location in early August, but are running into some supply chain issues that may push that date back.
“We’re trying to build capacity in the roastery side of the business,” said Semple. “People like the coffee so much we can’t make enough right now.”
The Plan Commission also approved a site plan for a new 7,500 square foot office building being developed by Bushue HR on Washington Avenue and First Street. The tenets and potential future use of the building have not been made public.