A new year and a new business, enjoy it a latte

Ben Lippert

Ben LippertJuice Editor

Six months ago a brand new coffee shop appeared in Brookings, offering much more than a quick caffeine fix.

Choco Latte has fudge, and lots of it. At any given time you can choose from over a dozen different flavors of fudge, made right in the store.

Donna Behrend is the CEO and brains behind the operation; she is also the master candy chef. Each week she makes 150 pounds of the moist, melty fudge, with a flavor to satisfy every individual sweet tooth.

Behrend has always loved coffee, and sweets.

“My whole life my mom’s always made candy,” Behrend said. “I decided to take my love for coffee and my love for candy and combine both passions.”

Behrend said she worked at a corporate coffee shop for seven years before she decided to start up her own operation.

“This is the first business I’ve owned, and I love it!” Behrend said. “I wanted to make the best cup of coffee available to people without charging them an arm and a leg.”

Behrend says she knows what it’s like to be a poor college student.

Even with many other options for coffee on campus, Behrend doesn’t see campus shops as competition.

“It’s important that there are other coffee options on campus for students that cant drive or don’t even have vehicles,” Behrend said.

Although Choco Latte is a really young business, they already have a long list of regulars.

“I like knowing what people are going to order right when I see them walk in the door,” Donna said. “I want a place where people can come without feeling judgement.”

Abby Carter is a junior broadcast journalism major and a barista at Choco Latte. She has worked there almost as long as the business has been open.

“I really enjoy the atmosphere, and the coffee is great, but my absolute favorite part is the people I work with,” Carter said.

Carter said that free WiFi is a cool feature offered by Choco Latte, but their drive-thru, which is also the only one in Brookings, is one of the most notable features.

“In the morning the majority of our customers come through the drive through and most of them are regulars,” Carter said. “It’s really nice if you are running late for class.”

Carter said that one of the employees can recognize most of the customers cars that come through the drive-thru, and will sometimes already have their drink ready for them.

“We try to remember your favorite drink,” Carter said. “We try to remember peoples names and we like to make sure they are getting exactly what they want.”

Not only can the “uniqueness” of Choco Latte be tasted, it can be seen all over the store. The average customer might not notice, but all the photography inside was taken by Behrend’s brother-in-law, who takes photos in his spare time.

Walking around Choco Latte is like taking a tour of the city of Brookings (in 1950). The artwork has a retro feel to it, and fits perfectly with the stores custom paint scheme.

The colors, pictures, fireplace, food choices, and staff make you feel welcome and relaxed the second you walk in.

Behrend said her business motto is one of always moving forward, but remembering the people that matter most; the customers.

#1.1839676:2184111680.png:ChocoLatte-GallagherBW.png:Choco Latte owner Donna Behrend displays her wide variety of fudge. Choco Latte offers more than a dozen different types of fudge in addition to their menu of latte?s, coffee, and other hot beverages. :Collegian Photo by Robby Gallagher