Drive-thru coffee, drinks shop pitched for front of Mountain Farms Mall

A proposed mural of a Greek god that would be painted on the side of Dave’s Hot Chicken in Hadley, as presented to the Planning Board.

A proposed mural of a Greek god that would be painted on the side of Dave’s Hot Chicken in Hadley, as presented to the Planning Board.

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 07-07-2024 11:01 AM

HADLEY — A drive-thru shop offering coffee, infused energy drinks, Italian sodas, smoothies, teas and milkshakes is being proposed for a vacant, mostly wooded parcel on Route 9 in front of Mountain Farms Mall.

Plans for 7 Brew Coffee, brought before the Planning Board on July 2, show a 510-square-foot building and parking area between the Jiffy Lube at 347 Russell St. and Four Seasons Wines & Liquors at 333 Russell St.

“It’s a drive-thru-only coffee business with other drinks, teas, shakes and things like that,” said Manraj Parmar, a Connecticut franchisee who already is bringing two locations to that state and told planners he is interested in placing a franchise in Hadley.

7 Brew, he said, is already in 27 states and has gotten positive traction on the East Coast after starting in Florida, Parmar said.

Waitstaff at the business greet each customer pulling into the double drive-thru and take orders on iPads from the customers, who remain in their vehicles, and then are soon after hand-delivered the drinks they have ordered, he said. There are no on-site kiosks for ordering and no interior space for customers.

“A very different concept for the Northeast,” Parmar said.

The original 7 Brew started in Arkansas, taking its name from the original seven drinks on the menu, Parmar said.

“I think it would be a great addition to the community,” Parmar said.

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Planners would begin reviewing the project, which would be accessed through the mall parking lot, once site plans are submitted.

Proposed mural

Meanwhile, the board appeared favorable to a mural depicting a Greek god, wearing sunglasses and holding a cellphone, that would adorn the side of the proposed Dave’s Hot Chicken, which plans to locate at the former PeoplesBank branch at 5 South Maple St.

Ryan Little, a representative for the business, said the mural is not specific to the restaurant brand and would be in compliance with town zoning.

John Stefanidis, regional manager for Dave’s, said similar murals are done at the chain’s restaurants elsewhere. An artist would be coming from Los Angeles to do the work.

“It brings a little life to the building, anyways, because it (the building) is plain,” Stefanidis said.

Only board member Joseph Zgrodnik expressed concern that the mural is advertising for the business and sets a precedent. “As innovative as it is, it’s still a sign,” Zgrodnik said.

Other members disagreed. Mark Dunn said the mural is a unique and artistic graphic.

“I certainly think it has artistic merit,” said Michael Sarsynski.

“Whether I like it or not is irrelevant, viewing it from a zone bylaw point of view, it is unique, it doesn’t appear to be something they’re using someplace else,” said Chairman James Maksimoski.

Board Clerk William Dwyer said the mural is likely not advertising since it’s doesn’t tie into the specific business, much like similar exterior paintings approved at L.L. Bean and Taco Bell. “I’m not bothered by this one,” Dwyer said.

Little said the restaurant will have inside seating, removing an outdoor dining area, while using the existing drive-thru lane. Planners held off on approving signs for the business, which include a 30-square-foot horizontal sign on the building and a 34-square-foot pylon sign depicting a chicken’s head.

In other business, planners approved a modification to site plans to accommodate a new outdoor cooler and patio at the future Skinny Pancake restaurant at 379 Russell St. The changes mean only two parking spaces will be lost, rather than three, and the business will still meet the town’s two-for-one parking requirements.

The board also approved changes to a storage shed and underground propane tank for the under-construction TownePlace Suites by Marriott at 237-239 Russell St.; and advised Mary Campbell of Mount Warner Road that she will need to seek a home occupation special permit to do licensed horse riding instruction at her property. Campbell is getting a stable license and will eventually be offering a farm experience at the location.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.