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Born in 1968, Russell Chisholm grew up in Michigan. He and his family moved to Southwest Virginia in 1995 after he was discharged from the army. A veteran of Desert Storm, he appreciated the community relationship within coffee houses, and decided to open one when he moved to Southwest Virginia. Chisholm ran his business for fifteen years. Over the years, he gradually learned more and more about the coffee industry. He cultivated relationships with farmers and began roasting his own coffee. Eventually, he closed the retail portion of his business and began solely roasting coffee.
At the beginning of the Pandemic, Chisholm’s partner farmers first sounded the alarm to the difficulties of the pandemic. In 2020, Chisholm learned of a virtual tip jar in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a grassroots mutual aid organization that helped service industry folks negatively impacted by the pandemic. Chisholm founded the Southwest Virginia Tip Jar to collect donations and serve service industry professionals impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic in largely rural Southwest Virginia. At its height, the organization served around 470 people in the New River region.