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Hawaii-based coffee shop plans major expansion into Wesley Chapel, Clearwater, St. Pete

inside a coffee shop with a motorcycle in the corner. A large aloha sign hangs over the window where a small bar rests.

Say aloha to Bad Ass Coffee. The Hawaii based coffee concept is looking to break into the already bustling Tampa Bay caffeine scene with intentions to open 5 shops within the next few years in the region. Operator are already eyeing St. Petersburg, Wesley Chapel, and downtown Clearwater as spots to set roots in.

Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii is renowned for its premium sourcing, roasting, and quality 100% Hawaiian coffees and international blends. The company officially announced the signing of a multi-unit agreement that will bring five stores to the greater Tampa market by the end of Q1 2024, according to a release.


Longtime business partners Chris Bruckner and Richard Elkhoury are heading up the development efforts under the LLC, High Caffeine Inc. The duo has been in business operations and development for over 30 years and are actively growing in central Florida with several concepts that are looking to expand. Their portfolio includes many different operations – including gas stations, convenience stores, car washes, and quick-serve restaurants – with 18 total businesses across Florida and Boston, MA. 

several small wooden tables arranged inside a cafe. An l-shaped bare is set in the background. Surfboards hang decoratively from the ceiling.
Inside Bad Ass Coffee’s Naples, FL location

Hawaiian coffee finds a home in the Tampa Bay region

Eager to diversify with a unique coffee concept, they decided to franchise with Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii and are on track to open their first location late Q4 2022/early Q1 2023. Site selection for all five stores is well underway, targeting the greater Tampa market – including Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Treasure Island, and Wesley Chapel.

There’s really no shortage of solid coffee options all over the region. Kahwa Coffee, Lady and the Mug, King State, Craft Kafe, Bandit, Buddy Brew, Caffeine, The Blend Coffee & Wine, Black Crow Coffee Co., Foxtail, Blind Tiger, and Blush Tea and Coffee all offer superb muddy cups. With a growing population throughout the area, it only makes sense that we would continue to enhance our cafe options.


“When looking at coffee brands, we knew we needed a competitive advantage and Bad Ass Coffee gives us just that,” said Bruckner. “With Bad Ass Coffee, we have a superior product, fun and exciting branding, and a strong connection to our Hawaiian roots that really makes us stand out in the industry. When doing our due diligence, we simply didn’t see that from any other brands out there – Bad Ass Coffee is different and a brand we can truly grow with. We are very active in the communities we operate in and as a resident of Trinity, the greater Tampa market is ideal for our development.”

Florida has been proven to be a successful state for Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii for more than a decade, hosting four of its top stores across the system. The stores in Naples, Miramar Beach, Pensacola, and Santa Rosa Beach provide great visibility for the brand because they attract vacationers from across the nation. As Bad Ass Coffee expands into other markets across Florida, it continues to strengthen brand awareness, providing strong validation for franchisees – demonstrating that the concept and model performs well in similar markets. 

Three cups of coffee arranged on a dark countertop. A hand holds a cup of coffee in front of a shop in a strip plaza.

Emerging in one of the fastest growing cities

“As one of the top 10 fastest growing cities in the country, we’re very excited to have such a strong franchise partner like High Caffeine to open up the Tampa market,” said Scott Snyder, CEO of Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii. “Chris and Richard impressed us with their knowledge of the market as well as their diversified retail operations experience. We believe it will be a mutually beneficial partnership that will only accelerate our aggressive multi-unit development and growth plans.”

Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii was born on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1989 with the dream of sharing American-grown, premium Hawaiian coffee with customers everywhere. In addition to premium coffee from the famous Kona region of the Big Island, Bad Ass Coffee also sources from Kauai, Maui and Moloka’i. Beyond premium Hawaiian coffees, Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii also serves up a full menu of popular blended drinks, signature lattes, cold brews, teas, innovative foods with a Hawaiian twist, and branded merchandise.

Follow Bad Ass Coffee on its website for updates on official location announcements.

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