Urbana coffee shops swap venues


By Alixandria Wells-Good

Contributing writer

It’s not often that you hear of two competitors working together, especially in a small town.

On the other hand, maybe being in a small town, with the connections people have to each other, is exactly why it’s possible for competitors to show community loyalty to each other.

On Sunday, Aug. 27, the Spotted Owl Coffee Bar served its last drinks. However, the space is still going to be brewing coffee and be an excellent place for people to gather, because Dees Brew Coffee Co., formerly located on the corner of state Route 55 and U.S. Route 68 and then at the Wing Bar, is taking over the downtown location soon, and the Spotted Cow will take over use of the coffee trailer.

The Spotted Owl Coffee Bar, an extension of the local Spotted Cow Coffee Shop, held its grand opening in September of 2022. Owner Bobbi McKee said that the original coffee shop, the Spotted Cow, was doing well at that time and they made the decision to expand, but they learned a valuable lesson by opening the Owl: “When things are going well, just cherish the moment.”

She says that eventually it became clear that they were not able to give either coffee shop the quality that they wanted to. Bobbi and her husband Jacob McKee, who both have full-time jobs besides the coffee shops, felt a calling to narrow their work focus more and open up more time to spend with family.

Dees Brew Coffee Co. is owned and operated by newlyweds Zeke and Bailie Dees. Their dream started as a “coffee bus” but eventually they decided on a trailer. The couple set up their trailer in October of 2022 at the south end of Urbana. Bailie said that the original business plan had been to eventually have multiple trailers and one brick-and-mortar location, but they feel like the plan has shifted now.

Bobbi shared that it was actually the landlord of the downtown building that connected her with Dees. When the name Dees was brought up, she immediately thought “this could work.” She was familiar with the Dees Brew and even Zeke himself. In fact, Zeke had worked at Downsize Farms, Bobbi’s other company, and was even a job coach to Bobbi’s brother, who recently passed away. She said: “I feel like God connected all the dots on this.”

Clearly something was at work, because the Deeses said: “We had been praying about it, and figuring out what we wanted to do. And the next day we got a call. God had answered our prayers.”

Bobbi plans to eventually take the coffee trailer around to local festivals around Ohio “when we feel like it, and not feel like we need to do it every day.” The trailer will be a needed upgrade to the converted bus that the Spotted Cow currently uses to set up at places like the county fair.

As far as the new location for Dees Brew Coffee Co., the couple is excited to begin working on completing the necessary steps to open, such as the inspections and licensing, but are planning on opening as soon as possible.

Customers should check the Dees Brew Coffee Co. social media pages for updates. Zeke Dees said: “We’re excited to come into the downtown area, and make ourselves a permanent location, someplace where someone can always find us, and to be able to grow into the community and make a footprint here.”

Reach the writer at [email protected]

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