Mission Coffee releases Artist Blend, Local Motive incubates food ventures 

Side Dish

Brushes to beans

When we first spoke with Brett Bixler of Mission Coffee Roasters (11641 Ridgeline Drive, #170, missioncoffeeroasters.com, also see here.) shortly before his late 2012 opening, he mentioned an Artist Blend Coffee he planned to introduce eventually. Well, that time is coming closer, he says, as he's in serious talks with major grocery chains he hopes will carry his product by mid-2015, and he plans to introduce the series in-shop within a month or so.

Bixler had debuted the blend through his former business, High Grounds Coffee Roasters, at mid-Atlantic Whole Foods locations over several years, and found it outsold all other coffees he supplied to them. Bag labels featured works by 70 artists, which helped earn placement in the Baltimore Museum of Art gift shop. The artists, who donated their works, gained exposure (with a bio on the bag), while Mission caught shoppers' eyes on the shelves.

This time, Bixler expects that to get even better since he's working with Austin Buck from Co-Pilot Creative to design whole bags (not just labels) that feature wraparound art. "Essentially, the bag is the art — celebrat[ing] art for art's sake," says Bixler.

His first three guest artists planned for Mission's bags are Buck, Chaney Matsukis and Sarah Heinbaugh. But he encourages interested local illustrators, painters and even photographers to contact him. As soon as new bags are released, they'll likely cost $12 to $14 per pound in his store. Big retailers will set their own prices.´

Manitou's new Local

Elise Rothman d'Hauthuille, who toiled through 2013 to fund and launch Manitou Springs' Local First Grocer (116 Cañon Ave., localfirstgrocer.org), only to be later fired from her general manager position by the interim board she appointed (see "Food fight," News, July 30), has moved on to another local-minded effort.

The food enthusiast has partnered with area business developer Chris Dwyer (who cites the co-founding of two Boulder "food and farm investments" on his résumé) to launch Local Motive (localmotiveco.com), essentially a business incubator.

Citing intermediary services (canning and labeling assistance, etc.) similar to those offered by Gotta Love It! Kitchen before it closed, Local Motive seeks to aid growers and food producers by helping them reach the marketplace. One early example is with Black Forest's Las Bonitas Alpaca Ranch, whose alpaca jerky samples were recently on display at Manifest Colorado Festival.

Rothman d'Hauthuille says she's also helped get alpaca chops onto the menu at the Blue Star. After six weeks of business out of Manitou Springs, LM has four clients, in whom the public may also invest "like mini angel investors" — either buying a small equity in the business or benefiting from a low-interest loan to them.


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