Falls Coffee Co., a Menomonee Falls-based online coffee business which opened Sept. 1, combines coffee with supporting law enforcement. (Photo: Submitted)
Coffee isn’t significant only because so many people drink it to start their day, said Steve Sanders, owner of Falls Coffee Co.
There are many other reasons it is significant, he asserted. For example, he said, coffee is a patriotic drink signifying freedom, as colonists switched to coffee and away from tea as a way to protest the British tea tax.
The goal of Falls Coffee Co., which opened Sept. 1 as an online business where customers can order roasted coffee, is “to incorporate the police and the community.”
As a law enforcement officer, Sanders wants to employ officers, donate a portion of the proceeds to help officers in need and to share positivity about law enforcement.
He has been working on this business venture since December 2019.
While police have been in the news a lot in recent months — including George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer in May and the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha police in August — Sanders said his goal is to shine a more positive light on law enforcement.
“I want to focus on the positive influence of the police and the public have on making their communities better,” he said.
‘Officers’ needs are not known’
Sanders said one of the unique aspects of Falls Coffee Co. is that a portion of the proceeds specifically benefit law enforcement.
He said that once the business is making financial progress, he plans to make donations to specific officers in need or to charitable organizations that support them.
He said that some businesses may support officers for a short time — for example, as in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“But I don’t see too many that are there for the police, year in and year out,” he said. “Officers’ needs are not known.
“I want to change that.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, officers struggle with many mental health challenges such as alcohol abuse, depression, suicidal thoughts and post-traumatic stress disorder.
In 2017, NAMI reported an estimated 140 law enforcement suicides in the nation and that more police die by suicide than in the line of duty.
Officers face numerous challenges — such as officers who are retired on disability —and may need financial or emotional support. The big problem is that people think when an officer retires on disability, “great, the officer is getting taken care of,” Sanders said.
But there are still a lot of other issues at play, he said. He said there are often financial hardship as such officers struggle to pay for health care, which isn’t easy in a disability paycheck.
And he said line of duty deaths can be even worse. He said a spouse may get a sum payout, but it doesn’t replace the lost loved one. “Children may have schooling paid for, but the family, after the big funeral and payout, is basically left alone to figure things out,” he said.
‘It can wear on you’
The job can take an emotional toll, as well, particularly if an officer loses a job due to injury.
“There is the loss of the job and the people. It sounds kind of funny, but in the police profession, the police are already kind of isolated from society when they are working,” said Sanders.
“No one wants to really hear what the police truly see and emotionally have to digest on a daily basis. They sort of withdraw because most of society doesn’t understand their humor or their way of coping during the job,” he said.
Sanders said officers face stress from seeing people at the lowest points of their lives. “It can wear on you,” he said.
“We (law enforcement officers) work long hours during the day and night, and on weekends and holidays, giving up special moments with our families to be available for Americans at any moment they need help,” he wrote on the Falls Coffee Co. website.
“There needs to be some ongoing support. At the very least, someone can say, ‘I haven’t forgotten about you,'” Sanders said in an interview. “We are now doing it for the military, which is awesome. It would be nice to start to think of our police and even fire people.”
Sanders sees Falls Coffee Co. as his opportunity to meet some of those needs — in addition to providing customers with a good cup of coffee.
Coffee as a means to an end
While Falls Coffee Co. operates online now, Sanders would like to see the business evolve to one day open a brick-and-mortar location.
“My vision is to continue to grow, to re-invest in the company until I retire, then, if it is doing well, expand. Police will be a primary focus, but I want to have some sort of charitable side for people, as well,” he said.
Sanders said he wants customers to experience the natural flavors found in the coffee bean. Beans at his shop are roasted on the medium to light-medium side.
“I think Americans have been slow to realize this, but it’s starting to turn,” he said. “Americans traditionally love their full-bodied, dark-roasted coffee that lets the spoon stand up without adding anything else to it.”
“If I wanted to start a business, it should be with something I like,” he said in an interview.
For more information
For more information on Falls Coffee Co., visit https://fallscoffeecompany.com or find Falls Coffee Company on Facebook.
Cathy Kozlowicz can be reached at 262-361-9132 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @KozlowiczCathy.
Read or Share this story: https://www.jsonline.com/story/communities/northwest/news/menomonee-falls/2020/10/13/menomonee-falls-falls-coffee-company-made-support-law-enforcement/5913283002/