MSU Denver student starts a sustainable business

Dmitri plans to bring organic coffee to undercaffinated students on campus January 2018

After biking 931 miles from San Antonio, Dmitri Rumschlag ended his 25 day bike trip in Denver. Within two hours he got a job, a place to live and a group of friends. Two-and-a-half years later, he is attending MSU Denver for the engineering trades and started his own business.

Engineering Trades student Dmitri Rumschlag poses for a portrait on the MSU campus Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. Rumschlag has started a local Wheelys business. Photos by Mark Stahl | mstahl5@msudenver.edu

Rumschlag, an MSU Denver sophomore, works at the Mercury Café and The Corner Beat Café. Both of the restaurants sell 100 percent organic goods, a value important to Rumschlag. He is an advocate of sustainable lifestyles and renewable energy, for himself and others.

Rumschlag has been interested in this lifestyle since he was 10 years old. He would build contraptions with K’Nex, which are constructible toys kids can use to build anything from cars to roller coasters, and powered them by a wheel he would turn instead of using the motor that came with the set.

“I always wanted to help people and make things that you can’t really get sometimes,” he said.

Rumschlag believes that having a sustainable lifestyle is our future. He said we eat food covered in pesticides and expel pollutants to get nonrenewable resources when instead we should be using those resources to build solar panels that will last 25 years.

Rumschlag has worked hard for what he wanted his entire life. When he was 16, he started his own landscaping company and ran it for seven years. It started with him going door to door in his neighborhood of 2,000 residents, asking each one if they would pay him to mow their lawn.

“My mom instilled this in me, I used to need money for things and she would be like, you have to work for it,” he said.

Julia Rosemorgan, a close friend and coworker of Rumschlag, said that he has a strong work ethic. He picks up unpaid projects around the community that always help people.

“He’s got a lot of enthusiasm about life and biking and coffee,” Rosemorgan said.

Rumschlag wanted to sell coffee because he loves it. He wants to offer people low cost, organic and great tasting coffee. As a self starter, he began looking to open his own café. He originally planned on building his own bike café. Unfortunately, he did not have access to shop tools or the money to build it.

Luckily, he found Wheelys Café company.

Wheelys is a Swedish franchise that provides bicycle cafés to entrepreneurs looking to start their own business. The company started in 2014 by a group of friends and has spread all over the world, operating in more than 50 countries. They believe in “a green revolution,” and organic free trade coffee.

Rumschlag was in contact with the company for a few months before they had a big sell and sold out of all of their models. He had missed the sale because he was saving his money to buy one. After the sale, they called him and said that they had one more cart with his name on it.

The bike café that Rumschlag got from the Wheelys is a “model three.” The bike café is painted white with red trimming and lettering and is ready to set up anywhere. It is powered by human pedaling and a battery that Rumschlag charges with a solar panel. Rumschlag plans to add on more solar panels later. The battery and the solar panels will be used to power the motor on the bike and the chiller inside.

Rumschlag’s mission was to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible. He had an idea of one day adding pedals on the bike that customers can pedal, generating power, for their own coffee.

Nikki Hazamy, owner of The Corner Beet and good friend of Rumschlag said he’s full of ideas.

Engineering Trades student Dmitri Rumschlag takes his cafe bike for a spin on the MSU campus Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. The Swedish company provides bicycle cafés to entrepreneurs looking to start their own business.

“He’s always been the type to spearhead projects,” Hazamy said. “He is all about sustainability and he really likes bikes, so it is really up his alley.”

Rumschlag went with Wheelys because of their ethos and dedication to sustainability. Part of that ethos is fair trade coffee. Fair trade coffee is regulated by Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit organization, to insure a livable wage and proper work environments for farmers regardless of the market price of coffee. Companies like Conscious Coffees, a roster located in Boulder, and Dunkin’ Donuts use fair trade coffee.

Wheelys uses organic food and free trade coffee beans. Some businesses in the coffee industry have been criticized for taking advantage of developing countries. Fair trade helps those communities develop their infrastructure Rumschlag said.

“You have these other companies that come in and don’t want to pay the fair price, get the cheap stuff, pay those people like shit and it is just not fair,” Rumschlag said. “I cannot support that in any business that I decide to open.”

The café comes with an application for Android and Apple phones that customers can download onto their phones. With this app, people can locate the café and place orders. If it is a nice day and someone wants to ride their bike to the café, they can use the app to let Rumschlag know they are on the way.

Wheelys encourages owners to sell local products as long as they are organic and free trade. Rumschlag plans on selling organic coffee, coffee related drinks, fresh press juice from The Corner Beet, salads in quart mason jars, organic fresh fruit, locally baked organic pastries and muffins.

He is planning to have the grand opening of his café on Jan. 6.

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