Charged! keeps moving ahead

Geneseo Republic

Parents, friends, family — nobody thought Mike and Andrea Rascher could be successful selling coffee from the window of a vintage camper on Route 150 in Orion.

But after eight or nine months, the Raschers had been successful enough to move into a brick-and-mortar building, the former Carpet Time on Fourth Street, Orion, in August 2019.

One of the keys to their success was adding Monster Energy drinks, Mike Rascher said.

"That's when it took off," he said. "Everybody still loves our coffee."

Main Street Orion held a ribbon cutting for Charged at its new location in the former Maple Street Grill on 10th Avenue west of Fourth Street. From left are Krystin White, Main Street Orion's executive director; Mike Rascher, owner, and Kassi Clear. They are at the drive-up window on the east side of the building. To its menu of coffee and pastries, Charged soon will add paninis, soups, salads, parfaits and fruit cups.

Orion High School kids were driving to the Atomic Coffee Bar in Davenport for high-energy drinks, Rascher said. That's when the Raschers decided to provide the Monster drinks right here in town.

"We have 128 different kinds of Monster drinks," he said. "We're different from everybody else because we have so many."

A new syrup bottle arriving at the shop yields four or five new drinks, Rascher said.

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Another key to success is having great employees selling high-quality beverages, Rascher said. He has 19 employees right now, and for nine or 10 of them it's their first job.

Almost exactly three years after opening in Carpet Time, the Raschers have moved into the former Maple Street Grill on 10th Avenue, Orion. Its big advantage is allowing them to install a drive-through window on the east side.

To make the interior brighter, he tore out four walls and installed windows.

The new location also has a full kitchen, Rascher said.

On opening day, Friday, July 29, Charged was full of customers in its new location, the former Maple Street Grill on 10th Avenue west of Fourth Street. Ashley Awbrey, left, serves Linda Pettifer.

Starting the week of Aug. 14, Charged will offer paninis, soups, salads, parfaits and fruit cups from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. while still offering breakfast pastries such as bagels, muffins and cinnamon rolls. They will continue offering ice cream, too.

With a new location comes a new name. Charged Coffee and Cocoa Shop has been shortened to Charged, and a new logo has the name imposed over a steaming cup of coffee.

Charged serves all ages. On the day of the ribbon cutting, July 29, 10 children occupied child-sized couches and chairs in one corner. On Friday mornings, two groups of older women — totaling 40 in all — visit the shop.

Rascher said he and the older women tease each other, and sure enough, a few minutes later in the interview, one of them walks by Rascher's table, points at him and says, "Ornery."

Charged supports fundraisers for the Orion schools, including the high school golf team on which his son Cameron plays.

The Raschers have another location near Frank's Pizzeria on Sixth Street in Silvis, and in early September, Charged is taking over All Steamed Up on East Street in Cambridge.

As to the vintage camper, the Raschers sold it to their first employee, Summer Gritton, who took it to Colorado Springs where she uses the Raschers' recipes. They're okay with that because she taught them what they needed to know in the beginning.

The Charged location in Orion is open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.