BRIELLE TUTTLE | JEFFERSON HERALD CHiRP Coffee owners, Shannon Hansen (left) and Rona Challen (middle) laugh with a customer as he draws for a prize after he received an orange cup with his drink during CHiRP’s one-year anniversary celebration event on Saturday. Prizes ranged from “bird bucks” to a free t-shirt. The event featured specialty drinks, games, prizes, souvenir cups and more.

CHiRPing into year two: coffee shop celebrates 1 year anniversary

By BRIELLE TUTTLE For The Jefferson Herald

CHiRP Coffee celebrated one year of serving Jefferson during their anniversary event on Saturday. 

This event featured giveaways, souvenir cups, specialty drinks, stickers and much more. When customers bought a drink they were given a celebration cup, and depending on the color of the cup, they could participate in a drawing for a free prize. 

CHiRP opened last year  on May 23 after a dinner between friends sparked the idea for a drive-thru coffee shop. 

The owners, Rona Challen, Shannon Hansen, Terri Renwanz and Carrie Peters are “thankful and appreciative” for the support they have received from the Jefferson community, and surrounding areas during this first year. 

“We wouldn’t be here without the people of this town,” Hansen said. 

After raising their families in Jefferson for over 20 years, CHiRP’s owners wanted to give back to the community and provide a service that wasn’t previously available. By combining their individual skills, they opened the first drive-thru coffee shop in town. Their mission is to provide quick, friendly service to every customer who flies through.

“I think we’ve made some people’s day. I think it’s a bright spot in our community. That’s what we’re hoping, that it’s a bright spot,” Hansen said. 

During the 2023-2024 school year, CHiRP came out with Ram and Rocket breezers to donate money to the Paton-Churdan and Greene County schools. For every Ram or Rocket breezer that sold, 50¢ went directly to the schools. 

The coffee shop also sells pup cups for $1, and 100% of the proceeds are donated to PAWS of Greene County. 

“We have a lot of dogs that come through,” Hansen said. 

The owners of CHiRP said that many dogs know when they turn into the drive-thru that they’re going to get a pup cup. 

For National Barista Day, their employees could make a drink for themselves, and one to give out to anybody. 

“We’ve employed people. I mean that to me is really fulfilling,” Hansen said. 

CHiRP employs about 30 people, many being high school students, whom the owners said they have enjoyed working with and getting to know over the past year. 

“I wouldn’t know any of these kids. I wouldn’t know any of them because my kids are older, and I just wouldn’t know them. And they’re great kids,” Renwanz said. 

While they don’t find themselves running into many challenges after a year in business, it can sometimes be difficult to anticipate when the rush is going to happen and have an adequate amount of staff to handle it, according to CHiRP’s owners. 

Additionally, the owners want to keep the CHiRP environment fun and come out with new seasonal items.

“We wanna do lots of things, so it’s challenging to figure out what it is that we wanna do,” Hansen said. 

Hansen, Renwanz and Peters all agreed that Challen, who manages CHiRP, had the most “headaches.”

“I don’t think any of them are headaches, I think they’re opportunities,” Challen said. 

They said having four owners, as opposed to one, has helped them generate the best ideas for their business, and have a lot more fun. 

“My idea, if it was just me, it wouldn’t be near as rich as it is with everybody else,” Hansen. 

Everyone’s suggestions are laid out on the table, and then they collectively choose, or combine, the ones they want to implement. The owners said that one person wouldn’t be able to run CHiRP. 

“We wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t have us all, there’s just no way,” Challen said. 

Challen has enjoyed building relationships with customers, and finding out where they’re from by working at the window. 

“We’ve had people here from Texas, South Carolina, Florida, California, Alaska, it’s just crazy getting to know where people are from,” Challen said. 

Before they learned the names of their regulars, they came up with nicknames, such as “white truck americano guy,” according to Peters. 

“In the beginning, we didn’t know their names, so they were all by their drinks, and now we know their names,” Challen said. 

Many of their customers find out about CHiRP through word of mouth, social media and driving by on Highway 30 as they’re headed to Des Moines or Ames. 

In April of 2023, CHiRP was awarded $5,000 from the Jefferson Wants You incentive funds, which they used to pay for a portion of their patio. 

“It helped us pay for our patio…it paid for a chunk of it, the planter boxes, all the furniture and umbrella, all that,” Peters said. 

Their patio and walk-up window are open during the warm months for patrons to enjoy drinks and food outside. 

Hansen said she’s excited to potentially bring back fan favorites, such as the firecracker charger, in their second year. 

“I was thinking ‘won’t it be nice, the next time around we can actually look at what we did previously and we can pull those out again,’ it’s kind of nostalgic,” Hansen said. 

The owners of CHiRP said they’re looking forward to another year and having as much or more fun as they did during their first year.

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Jefferson, IA 50129

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