PJ’s Coffee expanding footprint in Rio Grande Valley

Let the coffee wars commence.

Industry behemoth Starbucks already was being challenged in the Rio Grande Valley by the arrival of new Dutch Bros. Coffee shops in three cities.

Now PJ’s Coffee is looking to expand beyond its two operating stores in McAllen and Palmview and into Mission and Edinburg.

Harlingen also is a possibility.

A PJ’s spokesperson said the Mission and Edinburg sites are going through the development process, and that another PJ’s franchisee, Israel Vega of Harlingen, has three licenses and is in the site-selection stage.

PJ’s Coffee specializes in exotic coffees from places like Sumatra, Ethiopia, Colombia and Papua New Guinea.

The coffee shops carry a complete line of espresso-based beverages, flavored coffee, and cold brew iced coffee and bags of coffee by the pound.

PJ’s Coffee came to the Valley in 2020, brought in by the mother-and-son team of Aracely and Marcus Villarreal, who already had found success operating six Subway restaurants.

“Our experience with PJ’s Coffee has always been amazing, and we feel honored every day to serve the local community,” Aracely Villareal said of their McAllen and Palmview coffee shops. “With our new coffeehouses, we’re looking forward to providing the same quality brews and services to our guests while upholding the PJ’s name and culture.”

PJ’s Coffee was founded in New Orleans in 1978 and was sold to Ballard Brands.

In addition to its wide variety of in-store hot, iced and frozen coffee beverages, guests in South Texas can get coffee and confections catered.

The coffeehouses sell fresh-baked muffins, scones, cookie trays and hot beignets.

“We strive to spread the joy one sip at a time with our breakfast catering in McAllen,” Marcus Villareal said.

Along with its growth in Texas, PJ’s Coffee is expanding in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

PJ’s will have 21 locations open in Texas by the end of this year, with another 17 additional locations preparing to open in 2023.

Dutch Bros. Coffee plans to open new locations in Harlingen, McAllen and Mission.