GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - People in Grand Island will soon be able to shake up their morning routines with a new type of coffee.
Coffee from Kenyan farmers will officially be coming to Grand Island within the next few months.
This comes after Grand Island and state officials went on a trade mission to Kenya. They discussed distributing the Kenyan coffee bean right here in Grand Island.
Developments are currently in the works to make that happen.
The green coffee beans will be brought, distributed and sold out of the old Sears building at the corner of 3rd and Walnut Street in Grand Island's Railside District.
Laban Njuguna, a Grand Island entrepreneur and CEO of Zabuni Specialty Coffee, is going to buy the building to house his company. It will be the main distribution center for the Kenyan coffee bean throughout the United States.
"Like a really, really good wine, it's pretty much the same thing you know wine depends on territory and all those other things for it to have a really really good crop. It's the same thing with this coffee. It's high altitude, good climate, good soils, good rain fall, and those things aren't anything that the farmer does, but are just God-given," Njuguna said.
Njuguna spearheaded the trade efforts between Grand Island and Kenya. He said his main motivation is the 700 small-scale farmers in Kenya.
"We've been talking about this, and I think that it's been a national conversation about aid, and all these other things going back to Africa. A lot of people in Africa, that's not what they're interested in. They want to trade, and they do believe that they have products that are competitive even in this market," Njuguna said.
One Grand Island official met with over a thousand of the Kenyan farmers when he went on the trade mission.
"You could see it in their eyes, you could feel it in their touch when they shook your hands, they were so excited for this opportunity and really looking forward to the chance for them as individual farmers to have access to the North American market," said Dave Taylor, president of the Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation.
Taylor said this trade agreement between Grand Island and Kenya has opened the door for other trade deals, and will be beneficial for Grand Island economically.
"This started off as coffee. And what we watched it do is blossom into a whole opportunity for imports of coffee and exports of what we do really good here in Nebraska. And seeing Grand Island and what we do really well, and that's agriculture," Taylor said.
Officials are hoping to get the final touches put on the building within the next few months so they can start distributing the coffee.
Njuguna said once they are set up, he plans on holding weekly or biweekly auctions for the coffee at the warehouse. He said they may roast the coffee in house in the future.
- KSNB Hastings, NE; Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation.
Video: KTN News