Since the closing of Town Square Coffee House in 2021, many Northwestern students have frequented Brad’s or Scooter’s in Orange City or even traveled to Sioux Center for their off-campus caffeine needs. This college town has been lacking a cozy coffee shop with the right vibes for students to study and community members to connect.
Kweken Co. aims to fill that deficit. This new coffee shop, located just north of Windmill Park, opened to the public on Thursday, Sept. 14. Much anticipation had been brewing among NW students for the shop’s opening since it was featured at the Welcome to the Neighborhood fair that took place a week earlier.
The word “Kweken” means cultivate in Dutch. Put together, the name “Kweken Co.” means “Cultivate Community,” which is what its owners and founders hope to create a space for.
McKenzie Kuiken grew up in Orange City and recently moved back after living in Seattle for six years. She and her husband Michael have been working hard to bring their vision for Kweken Co. to life. They hope their shop can be a place where community is cultivated through coffee, coworking and events. All the choices made for Kweken Co. were guided by these intentions.
Kweken’s espresso beans are from Coffea, a coffee shop located in Sioux Falls, SD that roasts their beans in-house. Along with having high-quality drinks, the Kuikens wanted to create an environment that is well-suited for coworking.
The shop is open until 8 p.m. every day so that customers can collaborate whenever it works best for them. The back section of the shop is designated to be a community coworking space. Eventually, people will be able to purchase a membership to have access to this furnished office space and all its amenities.
This new coffee shop has generated a lot of excitement among NW students, and many stopped by to check it out within its first week of business. Sophomore Julia Boller was among those who came. “Kweken is such a wonderful touch to this Dutch town! We really needed another sit-down coffee shop to have for studying and getting together with people,” said Boller.
There are also past and present NW students on staff at Kweken Co. Krista Gleason, a graduate of NW’s class of 2023, serves as the community manager. “As a community manager. . .I have helped. . .with some social media, website building, photography, ad design, etc.,” said Gleason.
Senior Riley Hoff is a barista there. “I love working at Kweken because I love McKenzie and Michael’s vision to bring people together through community space and good coffee. I like to grab coffee with my friends and loved ones, so it is so special that I get to help make that happen for others, too,” said Hoff.
Gleason also enjoys being a part of bringing the Kuiken’s vision to life. “It’s so neat seeing people connect, enjoy the atmosphere and try the specialty coffee and tea. There really is a special community building here, and I’m excited to get a front row seat to what’s going on here!” said Gleason.