Prime Roast Coffee

Prime Roast owner Judy Rogers, left, and Manager Emily Lavigne-Bernier sit below plaques Prime Roast has won for its community service.

Prime Roast Coffee has been an enduring presence in Keene’s downtown community for more than 30 years. In that time, owner Judy Rogers has been re-investing in her community in ways both big and small. Her focus on social responsibility is a win-win situation. 

  “First off, it just feels good to do good. But beyond that, a strong and thriving community benefits our business directly, so it also makes good business sense to give back,” says Rogers.

  Organizations that Prime Roast regularly supports include The Monadnock United Way, Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition, and Amazing Grace Animal Sanctuary. 

  The full list of nonprofit donations makes their focus on supporting a thriving local community crystal clear. Among these are assisting the unhoused population through The Hundred Nights Shelter, promoting arts and culture at Moco Arts, addressing local food security through The Community Kitchen, and supporting Monadnock Buy Local, an initiative that additionally lends support to neighboring businesses. 

  Prime Roast focuses on ways of giving that directly impact their diverse customer base. Rogers says that many of Prime Roast regulars have an association with Monadnock Family Services. She points out that organizations like this MFS provide vital mental health services necessary during the pandemic and have pledged additional support towards these efforts. 

“Developing positive social ties with the community is super important for all of us but sometimes difficult for folks who struggle with the barriers (stigma) associated with mental illness,” she says.  

Throughout the pandemic, Prime Roast has highlighted social media in its community outreach. A visit to their Facebook or Instagram pages is sure to include “happy snippets” and community stories.

“During a time when connecting was so difficult due to the pandemic, social media allowed us to continue sharing daily doses of happy with our people,” Rogers says. “If we can use these platforms for good, to connect with our community near and far, and be a bright spot in someone’s day, well, then that’s just awesome.”

Rogers has recently held the role of project co-leader for The Magical History Tour. This project commissioned large-scale local history murals around downtown Keene, drawing tourists from far and wide.

“After 30-odd years in business, we are in a position to donate to projects that have big picture community impacts, like creating a huge public art centerpiece for the town, supporting a local theatre renovation or an expanded arts education center, or building a new home for the homeless … and so we do,” she says.

She has advice for business owners who are just getting their start in community giving. She suggests if a business has limited resources, they can start with a couple of organizations that align with their values. 

Rogers points out that there are many ways to support the community, such as buying ad space in a program, collaborating with other organizations on fundraising, joining a nonprofit board, or volunteering to help organize an event. 

Prime Roast truly lives its mission to provide positively memorable experiences to the community, and that mission extends seamlessly into all aspects of the business, including community giving and volunteerism. 

“At Prime Roast, we aim to spread joy in whatever ways we are able,” says Rogers. 

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