Dale Schotte’s first introduction to the coffee industry came when he was hired to do IT consulting work for a new café; two years later he purchased the business from the original owner.


At the start, the only product Park Avenue Coffee made in-house was a St. Louis staple—gooey butter cake; today Dale owns his own baking company, which boasts 75 different flavors of the sweet treat.


Dale says the coffee business is a people business, from the farmers to the roasters and baristas and all the way to the customer.

Dale Schotte

CEO and Founder, Park Avenue Coffee

Expertise: roasting, café owner, entrepreneurship

Coffee insight: The fastest growing demographic of coffee drinkers is 18- to 24-year-olds.

Fun fact: Dale first met his second-in-command, Chief Operating Officer Talan Cooksey, because Talan was a loyal Park Avenue customer.

Dale Schotte's Top 3: 1.) Cold Brew 2.) Cold Brew, and 3.) 1 cup a day

Dale’s Coffee Origin Story

In 2004, Dale was an IT consultant in St. Louis, working for an entrepreneur setting up her first café. While he’d been hired to set up her point-of-sale system and Wi-Fi, Dale says he found himself fascinated by the process and weighing in about everything from the menu to the color scheme.

What he loved most about the business had little to do with the coffee itself—it was building relationships with customers. At the grand opening, Dale joked to the owner that if she ever wanted to sell the business, he was ready to buy it.

Two and half years later, in 2006, he got a phone call from her, wondering if he was still interested, and that was how Park Avenue Coffee got its start.

Click here to find Park Avenue Coffee’s Amp’d Blend in the U3 Coffee Exchange!

Dale’s Current Role

Dale is the CEO of Park Avenue Coffee, which includes its own roastery and six coffee shops across St. Louis, and it’s baking operation, Ann & Allen Baking Company, which focuses on a St. Louis staple—gooey butter cake.

What Fuels Dale’s Work

From the beginning, Dale wanted to honor the fact that the shop was a local café by supporting other local businesses. At the time, they didn’t yet have their own roastery, so they contracted with a local roaster. They sourced all of their dairy products from local farms. They bought every product they could from St. Louis businesses.

For Dale, it’s important to never lose sight of the people involved in the coffee industry—from the farmers all the way to the customer. He explains, “The coffee business is 100% about people.”

What Dale Wants Coffee Drinkers to Know

Dale says it’s important to never lose sight of the number of people it takes to make each cup of coffee.

“An average pound of coffee has 4000 beans in it,” Dale says, “and the average coffee bean has probably been touched by about four hands by the time it’s…been sorted as green coffee. … So each bag of coffee has about 16,000 hands that touch that bag of coffee before you get it.”

How Dale Cultivates Community through Coffee

Dale knew right from the start that there was one product he wouldn’t be able to source from the St. Louis area—his green coffee.

But Dale says that what he could do was support farmers who were investing in their own communities. They source the majority of their coffee from a farm in Costa Rica that has been in business since the 1960s.

Dale is inspired by the way the company cares for its community. Not only do they make sure that their farm does not pollute their area—using hydro-generated power and then cleaning all of that water using reverse osmosis to make it safe for drinking—they also care for their team. Dale explains, “They do housing for their staff, medical care for their staff, dental care for their staff, elder care for their staff, childcare for their pickers… That is the people you want to support. That is the people you want to work with.”

Where to find him

Park Avenue Coffee: https://parkavenuecoffee.com/

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