Starting up your own business is never easy but it could be twice as hard if customers thought the coffee stand 509 Grind's new owners are the same people who played on the community's equality sympathies be perpetuating a self-serving hoax to turn a bigger profit.
The stand, formerly known as the "Coffee Break" made national news after it appeared someone had painted anti-Asian graffiti in the parking lot and even tried to burn down the stand. Fire investigators later said it turned out to be a self serving hoax.
The graffiti appeared the morning after Martin Luther King Day and read "Go back to China." The former owners were Korean, and the incident was initially repored as a possibly hate crime.
When it appeared someone was trying to run the owners -- the Na sisters -- out of business because of their ethnic origin, first time customers went out of their way to patronize them. They used their dollars and cents to say the Spokane area won't tolerate racism.
The problem, fire investigators said, is that Jennifer Na, one of the old co-owners was spotted on her own surveillance camera with the gasoline that would be used to start a small fire here and Na was later charged with arson.
That's when Donna Hedlund saw a chance to take something ugly and replace it with integrity.
"So I just came by and I asked one of the girls and they said yea its for sale, there was no for sale sign. So she gave me the realtor's phone number," Hedlund said.
On April 1 Hedlund took over ownership of the coffee stand, spent two weeks cleaning and remodeling and beginning this Saturday wants to win back business with good service and great espresso.
"We're really excited to serve Craven's Coffee and we've got our own 509 Grind blend and we're really excited," Janell Heinen with 509 Grind said.
"We just want to earn business by being friendly and serving wonderful coffee and pastries," Hedlund added.
Hedlund said she looks forward to serving the Otis Orchards-Greenacres communities and would also like to cater to people using the nearby Centennial Trail.
509 Grind is holding its grand opening at the intersection of Barker and Mission Saturday morning in Spokane Valley.