Blind Dog Coffee cafe opens in Ranchos
Sept. 8 marked the day that Blind Dog Coffee cafe opened its flagship store in the Gardnerville Ranchos at the corner of Kimmerling Road and Tillman Lane.
Owners Mark and Robin Berry relocated their wholesale coffee and roasting business from Sparks in order to fulfill the dream of owning their own coffeehouse. Mark roasts all the coffee varieties himself at their roasting plant on Pit Road.
Prior to Sparks, the couple made their home in Bishop, where they lived, worked and raised five kids over the past 30 years. Mark had a successful career with horses; he worked for the National Park Service, as a packer and also as a trainer in horsemanship for which he traveled all over the western United States. Summers were spent in the Sierra, winters in Death Valley. Once the kids moved out, they began to yearn for something different.
Mark recalls his first taste of specialty coffee, shared with him by a park ranger in Kings Canyon National Park as he made his way out of the mountains with a pack of mules. Thus began his passionate pursuit of drinking quality coffee. He was friendly with the owners of the Looney Bean Roasting Company, headquartered in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.. Over coffee, he’d half-jokingly ask the owner, Brent Kennedy, about learning more about the business.
About five years ago, his vision started to blur. Mark had been diagnosed with retinoblastoma as a toddler and doctors had successfully treated the cancer with high doses of radiation. As a side effect of those treatments, within 20 months his vision started to falter and 40-plus years after the radiation, Mark lost his eyesight.
When he realized what was going to inevitably happen, he said he “dropped the horse career pretty quickly. I called Brent (from the Looney Bean) and dove in while I could still see. I took classes, seminars, anything I could do,” in order to secure a future career for himself.
“I like to talk, I like living, I like being around people,” he said.
Mark roasts the coffee by sound and smell. Scales and roasters in the plant are equipped with talking devices, which enable him to create consistent, high quality coffees. When they lived in Sparks, he and Robin created a wholesale business that sold coffee in stores from Idaho to Santa Barbara, including Whole Foods, Raley’s, Scolari’s, and Smith’s.
Owning and operating their own coffeehouse brings this dream full circle. Mark said a portion of every bean, pound and bag of coffee sold is given to help fight childhood cancers.
Blind Dog Coffee Cafe is open from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. until mid-afternoon on Sundays.
Check them out at blinddogcoffee.com. Contact them at (775)265-2381 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meneley Elementary School holds its second annual Walking on Sunshine walk-a-thon, 9:30-11:00 a.m. Sept. 24.
The event is a major fundraiser for the school. Money raised is used for assemblies, classroom supplies, equipment, and school-wide programs including Reading Counts, the Science Fair and Invention Convention. All proceeds stay at the school.
Every student at Meneley participates and has the opportunity to win some great prizes. City National bank has generously donated 14 new bikes to be awarded to the top boy and girl fundraiser in each grade from K-6. Raffle prizes will also be distributed. The school is still accepting donations, such as gift cards, sporting goods or movie passes for the raffle.
Volunteers are also encouraged. For more information, contact Monique Vaughn at 265-0690 or Manya Brooks at 265-2422.
Amy Roby can be reached at email@example.com