When former NFL linebacker Stephen Tulloch was looking for a second location for Circle House Coffee, he knew exactly where it should go: Wilton Manors.
Located at 119 W. Oakland Park Blvd., he saw the potential for the neighborhood where Wilton Manors meets Oakland Park.
“I passed it every day and I’d been eyeing the property for a while,” he said of the stand-alone building. “I live in the area and I think it’s an upcoming area. There’s always room for improvement, but it has to start with someone and I wanted to put my touch on it.”
Open since October, Circle House Coffee Shop can’t be missed with its colorful mural and easy drive-through service. Not only does Circle House dole out piping hot coffee, but the menu also includes slushies, CBD-infused products, cakes and pies, vegan goodies, and donuts from Mojo Donuts — Circle House is the only place that sells the donuts outside of Mojo.
When Tulloch retired from the NFL in 2017, he wanted to continue the camaraderie he experienced as an athlete and put it into a business. He opened the first location in downtown Fort Lauderdale in March 2019 with the goal to create a hub for the community. This includes collecting school supplies for students in Cuba and Jamaica, raising money for breast cancer organizations, helping local elementary schools, and helping youngsters through his own nonprofit, the Stephen Tulloch Foundation.
“Coffee shops are a great place to meet people, come together with different plans, initiatives, and build community,” he said. “I wanted to put that together.”
But little did Tulloch know that when he first opened Circle House, his drive-through service would be a lifesaver for the business. When the world came to a stop as coronavirus swept the globe, he focused on the drive-through aspect and even created his own invention: the Tully arm. It’s a point of service system that hangs out the window of the drive through that allows the customer to pay with their phone or credit card and also has a hand sanitizer dispenser.
Typically found inside of restaurants, the Tully arm allows the customer to not have to hand over their belongings to someone else — important for many people in our germ conscious world — and also allows them to leave a tip for their server. It also frees up the cashier to put together the order as the customer makes the payment, speeding up service.
“Our staff is now doubling in tips,” he said of the Tully arm, which other companies are showing interest in purchasing for their own business.
With two successful locations under his belt and people reaching out to franchise, is Tulloch looking for a third coffee shop? Not just yet, he said. He wants to focus on consistency and “making sure we deliver excellence every day” before expanding further — traits he learned from playing football.
“It’s discipline,” he said. “Attention to detail, and that’s something that our coaches harped on us as players consistently day to day: not cutting corners, little things matter.”
Circle House Coffee, 119 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Wilton Manors; 954- 870-6456; circlehousecoffee.com.