Another option for morning coffee in Ellsworth
Not only does the new coffee place in Ellsworth offer a place to get great coffee but it offers a fun, friendly atmosphere for the entire family.
Matt Bronk opened The Twisted Oak Coffee House on Broad Street in Prescott in December 2014; his second location recently opened on Main Street in Ellsworth in February 2018.
Bronk said Ellsworth made a great choice for his second location; so far he has been happy with the decision to open his second coffee house in the county seat.
"I think Ellsworth really needed some good coffee," Bronk said.
Bronk said the opportunity to join with Mike Truttman, co-owner of Papa Tronnio's was a great opportunity for him to expand Twisted Oak to a second location. The two businesses work well together since the hours of operation don't overlap and they are both able to use the Ellsworth building to serve their customers. The two businesses are neighbors in Prescott.
"It's a lot easier," Bronk said about opening his second location. "Still stressful, still terrifying, but being in small town and in with another business worked well."
Bronk said when he first opened Twisted Oak in Prescott, it was a lot more stressful because a lot more had to go into the planning and design of the first location. For this second place, he used his in-place business model and modeled the new location after the Prescott store. He has the same machines and prices on drinks so that if employees from his Prescott location need to work n Ellsworth, it can be a smooth transition for them.
During his years in Prescott, Bronk said he has built up his brand to be one to which customers return. He said one of the nice things about the Ellsworth location is people are already aware of his brand and it brings them in for coffee.
"A lot of people say they've been to the Prescott location," Bronk said. "We are getting a lot of people saying they needed a good spot like this."
Having reliable employees who enjoy what they do is something Bronk said is important. He is proud that many of his employees have stayed at least two years. During the first month of employment, employees are trained how to make the drinks but actually don't make drinks for customers until they have been working for a month.
"First month is just training," Bronk said. "We focus on making them passionate on what they do."
Bronk said at some fast food coffee chains employees can make drinks for customers on the first day but he wants to make sure that his employees feel confident in what they are doing and make quality drinks for customers.
In addition to coffee, Bronk wants people to just be able to have a place to sit down, relax, have fun and enjoy time with family and friends.
"It's a morning watering hole," Bronk said. "Good fun music, put a good vibe out there."
Bronk wasn't always a coffee drinker, but that changed for him.
"I did not like coffee until college," Bronk said. "Once I discovered it I fell in love with it."
When he was looking to start his own business he wanted to find something where he would be dealing with happy people.
"Nobody is unhappy to come indoors," Bronk said about the coffee house. "It's what's going to make their day. That's what I wanted in business."
In addition to offering coffee, smoothies and hot cocoa, Twisted Oak in Ellsworth will also have donuts delivered every day from Hanisch Bakery in Red Wing.
Twisted Oak will be open in Ellsworth Monday-Saturday from 5:30 a.m. to noon.
Bronk is thankful that the Twisted Oak brand name is already known in the area and that is helping with business.
"Amazing how many people had been to the Prescott spot," Bronk said. "The fact that our good name is working for us. That is great."
Twisted Oak (and Papa Tronnio's) are located at 358 W. Main St.