Lifestyle & Human Interest

Customers Thank First Responders by Covering Tabs at Christian-Owned Coffee Shop


Two days after a manager of a Starbucks location in Tempe, Arizona, asked a couple of police officers to leave because other patrons “did not feel safe,” a Christian-owned coffee shop 40 miles north of that Starbucks implemented a new policy that showed their appreciation for local law enforcement.

Now, almost a month later, that same Christian-owned coffee shop and its patrons are continuing to show their love and respect toward police officers through a “special gift card.”

Amped Coffee Company opened in Anthem, Arizona, in June of 2018. Jeanine Walashek told The Western Journal in July that she and her husband, Keith, saw the need for a gathering place in the community.

“We wanted to start a business in our community that would fill a void,” Jeanine wrote in an email to The Western Journal. “A place where people of all ages feel comfortable hanging out. A place that was unique with different nooks to do homework or get work done.”

Since its opening, the coffee shop has filled that void by hosting weekly trivia nights and multiple live music events, and even providing a conference room that can be rented out for bible studies or business meetings.

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After they heard about the incident in Tempe, Keith and Jeanine knew that they wanted to intentionally show local law enforcement love and respect through their business, especially since one of their sons serves as a police officer in the Phoenix area.

“My wife and I have noticed that over the past 10 or 15 years that more and more people were portraying cops in a negative way,” Keith told The Western Journal. “And after what happened to the Tempe officers on the 4th of July it occurred to me that we as a society, as business owners, as Christians, need to do a better job at defending those that are willing to lay down their lives for us.”

On July 6, 2019, just two days after the police officers were asked to leave a Tempe Starbucks, Amped Coffee Company shared a new policy on its Facebook page.

“Calling all Police Officers, Amped Coffee and ALL of its employees want you to know that we are so thankful for how selflessly you serve and protect us!” the coffee shop wrote. “As a very small token, (compared to what you do for us) please let Amped buy you your next cup of coffee and any cups in the future.”

The post was extremely well-received by the surrounding community, gaining over one thousand reactions within a week.

Not only did the new policy show local law enforcement that they were supported by businesses in the area, but it also showed how many people in the community agreed that police officers deserve more respect.

“We simply wanted to find a way we could express [our] gratitude and to let these men and women know that we have their backs,” Keith said.

Almost a month later, Amped Coffee Company and its customers are still finding ways to show first responders the support they deserve.

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Last week, a customer asked Keith if she could purchase a gift card that would only be used for first responders — paramedics, firefighters and police officers —  in uniform. Keith thought it was a great idea and decided to open it up to any other customers who would want to contribute.

“Amped is still committed to taking care of drinks for any LEO that comes in, this is separate from the gift card,” Keith told The Western Journal. “The gift card will cover food for any LEO and food and drinks for any First Responder.”

The coffee shop is also matching every donation made by the community dollar for dollar.  Since the special gift card was announced on Aug. 6, 2019, over $200 have been donated to cover the costs of food and drinks for those local heroes.

Amped hopes that the gift card will always have money so that first responders feel loved and supported when they come in.

Keith added, “[It’s] so awesome to witness how one act of kindness from a customer can grow into a community coming together to take care of [its] heroes!”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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