#RoanokeStrong gains momentum as area businesses support each other and frontline workers

ROANOKE, Va. – Like many area businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic put Sweet Donkey Coffee in a tough spot. But things started to look up when Valley iRepair reached out with a unique plan that reached beyond both businesses.

“Our friends at Valley iRepair came to us and they wanted to donate $300 to Sweet Donkey,” said Dustin Eshelman, co-owner of Sweet Donkey Coffee. “So that we could benefit from that but then we could, in turn, turn around and give away $300 worth of coffee drinks to any frontline worker in the community.”

This win-win situation is now branded as #RoanokeStrong.

“We’ve always taken care of our own,” said Travis Powell, co-owner of Valley iRepair and founder of #RoanokeStrong. “And we’re a small but strong community and I think that’s the ultimate goal of #RoanokeStrong is, we just, we take care of each other.”

The initiative continues to gain momentum as other businesses like Mama Crockett’s Cider Donuts join in. They donated 50% of their proceeds on Wednesday to Sweet Donkey Coffee.

“We feel a part of the community,” said FW Willis, owner of Mama Crockett’s Cider Donuts. “And we wanted to do something to give back to support Sweet Donkey and the frontline medical workers who are working to keep everybody safe right now.”

It’s already making a difference sweeter than donuts or coffee.

“We really appreciate that people are out here looking out for us and making sure we’re taken care of,” said Zach Lathrop, a paramedic with Carilion.

Any local business is able to participate in #RoanokeStrong in their own way, but if you would like to donate to Sweet Donkey Coffee, they are asking that you use the app “Cloosiv” because they are not taking cash and they want to limit the number of people who come to their store. Sweet Donkey Coffee has already received more than $1,000 in donations.

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