Coffee shops fuel community through pandemic


Casey Rothgeb

Jolt Java serves customers on Vantage Highway just east of Ellensburg.

Jackson Sorensen, Staff Reporter

The pandemic has altered the way that we interact with each other and businesses have struggled to keep their doors open. As 2021 begins, so has a new set of COVID-19 restrictions. A lot of businesses are still feeling the effects from the very beginning of the lockdown. 

A few coffee shops in Ellensburg are working and collaborating with each other in an effort to support businesses that might be on the verge of closing for good. Jolt Java, located at 617 Vantage Hwy., is one of the coffee stands that is actively working with locally owned businesses to keep doors open. 

Greg Harvill, the owner of Jolt Java, is an avid supporter of the Ellensburg community. Harvill prides himself on the customer service that he and his staff maintain on a daily basis. 

“The formula is super simple, awesome drinks with awesome service at an awesome price,” Harvill said. “Having staff that care and realize that people could get coffee anywhere else, yet they come here because of how they are treated.” 

Jolt Java has been collaborating with The Verge Apartments and the Kittitas Valley Hospital to provide easy access to energy to power through the day. Their most recent collaboration is with The Pearl Bar and Grill. This collaboration introduced the inclusion of Keto-friendly food options. Harvill said he is excited about the collaboration and what comes from it.

“[The collaboration] offers something a little different than you would typically find at coffee stands,” Harvill said. “While we still offer muffins and breads, typical food items that you would find at a coffee stand, we now offer something healthier for people that are on a Keto diet, or just want to offer healthier options.” 

Mark Holloway is co-owner of D&M Coffee, which has been a local business in Ellensburg since 1990 with five locations scattered throughout Ellensburg. Holloway said he is passionate about his business and the community.

“The business has been to countless events hosted by local businesses and the campus as well,” Holloway said. “I think people really like D&M because we’re a local business that’s been around and are always there to support the community that we live in.” 

Ellensburg’s coffee community had a new member in June 2019 when Dutch Bros opened up on the I-90 off-ramp. The owner of the stand, Darren Nelson, said that he and his employees have partnered with organizations and participated in community empowerment events. 

“When that fallen officer passed away, the Dutch team donated product and help to that officer’s family,” Nelson said. 

Nelson said some community events that they have done included donating and working with Fish Food Bank and Bucks for Kids. Buck for Kids is an event that has been held on Sept. 1 for the past 10 years. For every drink ordered on this day, $1 is donated to a children-oriented organization, hand-picked by the Dutch Bros team. 

“We are meant to give back because we are uniquely well-suited,” Nelson said. “Since we are open, we felt the need to give back to those that have always supported us.” 

Nelson said the stand has implemented a no cash transaction policy to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. He said all transactions made are contactless and the drinks are served to the customer on a plastic tray that is sanitized after each transaction. 

“We really take our customer’s safety seriously,” Nelson said. “We want to keep everyone safe.”