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Biz Buzz: Local trio aims to ‘rob the grave’ and ‘connect the community’ through coffee

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Do you want to know what’s happening in the eastern Idaho business scene? We’ve got you covered. Here is a rundown of this week’s business news across the valley.

BIZ BRIEF

IDAHO FALLS

Coffee company aims to help recovering addicts and give back to the community

IDAHO FALLS – At first glance, Zachariah Monson and his two business partners, Tim Olsen and Zack Mahan, are a rough-looking bunch. But looks can be deceiving.

The trio were hooked on drugs for a long time and have since turned their lives around through rehab and recovery programs.

Earlier this year, they came together to form Grave Robbers Coffee, an online company that makes and distributes fresh coffee beans to clients. The coffee beans are purchased from locations around the globe and are locally roasted.

Despite being just a few months old, the business has really taken off. Monson tells EastIdahoNews.com they’ve acquired a nationwide customer base and a handful of businesses throughout eastern Idaho sell their coffee in-store. Among them is The Egyptian in downtown Idaho Falls.

RELATED | New Egyptian-themed coffee shop opens in downtown Idaho Falls

“The amount of support we’ve received is just insane,” Monson says.

The company also makes its coffee available to America Health Urgent Care, The Center for Hope and other places that deal with people who struggle with addiction.

The idea for Grave Robbers Coffee was inspired by an experience Monson and his partners had in common when attending addiction recovery meetings.

“It’s kind of a proverb that those recovery meetings have crappy coffee. One of our goals is to put good coffee into those meetings,” says Mahan.

As Monson and his partners look back on their recovery journey, they say coffee was a valuable tool in connecting with people, which is an important step in overcoming an addiction.

“The opposite of addiction is connection,” Olsen says. “If you sit and have a cup of coffee, you’re going to talk. Getting these people to talk and unload their burden (is critical).”

Olsen says drinking coffee also releases endorphins in the brain, which is a good replacement for the endorphin cravings that come from getting high on drugs.

As the name suggests, the company’s mission is to “rob the grave” of future addiction-related deaths by “connecting with others through coffee.” Monson and his partners achieve that by raising awareness of and funding for addiction recovery and mental health resources.

Grave Robbers hosted an event at Tautphaus Park over the weekend that raised more than $1,500 for The Center for Hope. A similar fundraising event will take place on Aug. 20 at Freeman Park from noon to 6 p.m.

And for customers who make a purchase at Grave Robbers, a portion of the proceeds go towards organizations that offer those services.

Monson and his team are grateful to those who have given them a chance as they’ve worked to become contributors to the workforce and society again.

They’re turning an old school bus into a cafe, which they hope will be completed in August. They’d like to expand this business model to other communities as well.

“Ultimately, we want to break the stigma of addiction and show the community around us and society at large that addicts are people with a mental health issue … and it’s something that (can be overcome),” Monson says.

BIZ BITS

Moving company offering free 30-day self-storage for those impacted by Yellowstone flooding

IDAHO FALLS – The U-Haul Companies of Montana and Idaho are offering 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box container usage at two facilities near Yellowstone National Park to help people affected by extreme flooding in the area.

About 10,000 people have been evacuated from the park, and many homes nearby have sustained water damage. The flooding was caused by a combination of heavy rain and snow melts, causing historic levels in the Yellowstone River and very dangerous conditions throughout the area.

Customers needing cardboard boxes can utilize the in-store Take a Box, Leave a Box program. U-Haul offers an area where customers can drop off used boxes in good condition, and others can access the boxes at no cost. U-Haul encourages anyone who has reusable boxes to drop them at the nearest U-Haul store location for this purpose.

People seeking more information about the U-Haul disaster relief program or needing to arrange 30 days of free self-storage should contact U-Haul Moving & Storage at 1091 Northgate Mile in Idaho Falls. The number is (208) 524-3585.

Local power company re-elects 3 board members

ASHTON – Nearly 700 owner-members of Fall River Electric Cooperative turned out in-person at Teton High School in Driggs on Saturday to participate in the cooperative’s annual energy expo and business meeting.

Over the past several weeks owner-members also cast their votes for six candidates seeking three seats on the cooperative’s board of directors. Voting was conducted online and also by mail-in balloting as well as in-person at the Driggs event.

Incumbents Anna Lindstedt from District 4, East Driggs; Jodi Stiehl from the southern Island Park area, which is District 7; and Doug Schmier of District 9 in West Yellowstone were all re-elected for new three-year terms beginning this month.

Schmier ran unopposed with a total of 2,038 votes. Lindstedt, who earned 1,403 votes, had two opponents running against her. Stiehl beat her opponent with 1,494 votes.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

Mass cancellations prompted by Yellowstone flooding cause worry in Island Park

Local RV parks seeing increase in calls following Yellowstone flooding

Beehive Credit Union announces annual picnic

Simply Mac store in eastern Idaho unexpectedly closes after company files for bankruptcy

Melaleuca announces new CEO as VanderSloot is appointed to different role

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