Robin Konjer and Landon Zabolotniuk's startup business, Multiply Coffee, supplies Vernon-area shops with coffee roasted fresh, using a zero-emission roaster. (Contributed)

Expert roaster plus ‘numbers guy’ equals early success for Okanagan coffee company

Adding a zero-emission roaster to the equation, Vernon’s Multiply Coffee supplies local shops with environmentally friendly coffee

A young Vernon duo’s new coffee roasting business is now pumping fresh product into local cafés and grocery stores.

Multiply Coffee is a months-old business venture by Robin Konjer and Landon Zabolotniuk. Aged 30 and 29, respectively, the two attribute the success they’ve had starting up to a happy marriage between their rather divergent passions and skillsets.

“I’m more of a numbers type of person; he’s more the coffee snob — in a good way,” Konjer told the Morning Star.

The two are making ample use of their brand-new, 1,500-pound coffee roaster — called a Bellwether, named after the company that first popularized this sort of roaster in California.

That’s because California has environmental regulations on many products and services, including coffee roasting, and the Bellwether is specially designed to produce zero emissions.

“It just hooks up to 220 electrical and that’s it; there’s no gas lines, no venting, nothing like that,” Zabolotniuk said. “The air that actually comes out of it is cleaner than the air that goes in.”

Using locally sourced packaging that’s fully biodegradable, Multiply Coffee supplies local stores with coffee brewed the same day of delivery — for a much-improved taste from regular store-bought, as Zabolotniuk promises.

“The majority of the coffee on the grocery store shelf is stale, and people are actually just used to that.”

Konjer is fresh off a management position at Value Village and says the freedom he was given in that role played a huge part in preparing him for his new passion project.

“I got to reimagine things and they gave me a lot of trust there,” he said. “But I think doing a startup is kind of combining all my passions, really.”

Zabolotniuk has been in a coffee mindset for much longer, having started roasting as a hobby six years ago. Eventually, he walked into Triumph Coffee in downtown Vernon with a sample brew and a business offer.

“They said sure, we’ll serve your coffee.”

Zabolotniuk said from the beginning, he knew he wanted coffee to become more than just a hobby. To take things beyond a bi-weekly offering at Triumph, he recruited Multiply’s other half.

“I realized that if I can do it I need some serious help, so then I reached out to Robin.”

The two spent the early months of the pandemic going for walks together, talking about the things going on in the world that were making them think differently about business and their lives in general.

“That really grew our friendship and our trust in one another,” Konjer said.

As of January, they’ve expanded the business to supply a growing list of clients that currently includes Triumph, Ratio Coffee & Pastry, Butcher Boys, IGA and Armstrong Askews.

More recently they partnered up with Armstrong’s Wild Oak Café, which reopened under new ownership on March 4.

For more information or to get in touch with the business, visit multiplycoffee.com.

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Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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