SMITHVILLE — Instantly popular, business at DJ’s Express Coffee increases everyday, Co-Owner David Maasen said.
Located in Major Mall off of U.S. Highway 169, Maasen shares the business with his baby sister, Janna Stevenson, both the second youngest and youngest of seven siblings. The business opened Tuesday, June 4, but the idea came years ago, Stevenson said. She had originally been working toward opening a coffee shop at Kansas City International Airport.
“I work in a car rental facility at the airport, it’s ginormous,” she said. “It’s the size of a football field and you can’t even get a bottle of water; there is nothing there.”
Stevenson has been working there for 34 years. After sitting at a counter for 30 years watching people search for concessions to no avail, and having coffee on her mind, the siblings began educating themselves on the coffee industry.
“We spent a few years trying to put that together,” Maasen said. “That kind of fell through. Then this became available and we thought, ‘Man, this is perfect.’”
Maasen sold his industrial supply company in July of 2018. Being too young to retire, he said he wanted something new. He partnered with his sister to get the business going.
“We are both from Smithville,” Maasen said. “I’ve always wanted a cup of coffee in Smithville that’s close and everyone else did too. ... We are on the right side of the road while people are on their way out of town for work in the morning. It is just the perfect spot.”
Coffee isn’t all they do. Every morning guests can get specialty coffee and freshly baked pastries. The drive-thru coffee shack offers homemade cinnamon rolls and “instantly famous” Pop-Tarts. The homemade pastry is frosted and features fruit encased in a light, flaky crust. Often selling fast, flavors available are strawberry, brown sugar cinnamon and wild berry.
“We have a baker who bakes for us the night before and delivers them here,” Stevenson said. “They are flying out of here.”
In the afternoons, DJ’s Express Coffee reopens for smoothies and snow cones. The siblings said they are keeping consistent hours, an issue for previous coffee places according to customers. Hoping to eventually have a brick and mortar location for community members to sit, converse and “discuss current events,” Maasen said the two will have long-term goals but are focused on running the portable shop right now.
“It does get crazy,” he said about business. “My anxiety is dropping quite a bit from the first day. ... Really, that is my long-term goal, to be able to enjoy it, smile and have fun.”
Maasen gave a lot of credit to the community. In a small community, he said, what people say about you can make or break your business. Positive things continue to circulate on Facebook and Instagram, he added, saying he is grateful and very appreciative.
“We are loving every second of it,” Stevenson said.