Gage Rohne grew up in Redwood Falls and has fond memories of visiting the Calf Fiend Cafe.
He recalled opportunities following visits to the orthodontist when, if he was good, he would be rewarded with a visit to the Second Street coffee shop. Throughout his growing up years Rohne spent many hours at Calf Fiend.
“I loved coming here,” said Rohne, adding he remembers being sad when it closed its doors.
So, the past few days have been pretty exciting for Rohne, as he, with assistance from others including Kelly Schmitz, reopened the Calf Fiend.
Having graduated from Redwood Valley High School in 2018, Rohne began his post-secondary education at the Duluth campus of the University of Minnesota this past fall.
Actually, as a high-school student Rohne said he did some post-secondary courses at SMSU and had planned to pursue a career in engineering.
What he soon discovered is that was not for him, so when he enrolled at the U of M in Duluth he began pursuit of a degree in entrepreneurship.
Rohne’s long-term vision was to open a coffee shop for a number of reasons. He said the environment of the coffee shop setting appealed to him as a place where he could not only provide customers with a quality product but he could also build relationships with the community.
“I’m a people person,” said Rohne, adding the coffee shop setting allows him the chance to meet people and to develop the entrepreneurial skills he has been learning.
Rohne said he started having conversations with family and friends about the idea, adding he was encouraged by former owners, Erik and Jess Lovett, when he said he was thinking of reopening Calf Fiend.
The challenge for Rohne was as a college student there was not a lot of money readily available for him to make the upgrades and purchase the necessary equipment to do that. Then he was approached by Kelly Schmitz who said she would partner with Rohne in the venture.
“We started working on it from there,” added Rohne.
There were some updates to the building itself, and Rohne said a Go Fund Me account was established, adding the community really supported that. To them Rohne ex-pressed his thanks.
In order to operate the site, Rohne was required to be licensed, and after successfully passing the exam to be licensed and passing the health inspection the green light to move forward was given.
Work continued as Rohne, with assistance from Schmitz and her family, as well as other supporters began gathering the recipes they would need. Some of those recipes came from family, while others were provided by the Lovetts. Rohne added they also found a few online.
When the Calf Fiend officially opened June 1 it not only offered coffee but a variety of fresh baked goods from caramel rolls and cookies to scones, bars and muffins.
The coffee shop is open from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily, said Rohne, adding that means he is there each day by 6 a.m., and throughout the day those baked goods are being made to ensure they are fresh.
The coffee is also fresh, said Rohne, adding the supplier roasts the beans they request the day before delivery.
The response during the first few days has been very positive, said Rohne.
“People are excited that it is open again,” added Rohne.
Rohne said the plan is start simply with a few items available, but he added if things continue to go well there is the potential to add more along the way.
Rohne brings some restaurant experience with him.
“I started working at Country Kitchen when I was 14 years old,” said Rohne, adding he started as a dish washer and worked his way up to floor manager.
Rohne said there was never a set plan in place about his future, although he said after praying about this option things really started to fall into place.
Rohne said some of the old coffee crowd have been filtering in, adding he has been told by some when their groups will be coming.
“The mornings have been busy,” said Rohne, after the first couple of days, adding the afternoons also continue to be steady.
Yes, said Rohne, he does like coffee, adding with a smile that he has appreciated the chance to taste test the products that are being offered to customers.
“I like them all,” he said, adding if he didn’t like it he wouldn’t serve it.
The current plan is to operate the coffee shop for the summer, with Rohne then returning to school in the fall and Schmitz, who is a teacher, also returning to her role.
Rohne looks forward to seeing familiar faces and new ones at Calf Fiend, adding he is glad to be back working in the community.
To learn more about The Calf Fiend Cafe, stop by its Second Street location in Redwood Falls, give them a call at (507) 217-7382 or visit the Calf Fiend Cafe Facebook Page.