BROWNING — You wouldn’t know by looking at the seemingly endless line of cars at Hinman Coffee Shop on Wednesday morning, but 2020 has been a struggle for the business.
“When the Tribe released its information about the relief funds for tribal-owned businesses, I would honestly have to say that that was really a godsend to us,” said co-owner Jade-Heather Hinman.
Hinman owns the coffee shop with her husband. When they bought the building and opened their shop earlier this year, they never anticipated they’d be opening during a pandemic with the Blackfeet Reservation shut down. The business is one of dozens hoping to get money from the COVID-19 relief grant the Blackfeet Tribe is offering.
“The Tribe had the mandated stay-at-home order. That applied to everybody, so our family went home. We just had a little chunk of our savings left, so we were kind of teetering on the idea of do we go forward with our business or do we just stay home and use whatever little savings we have left basically to get us to the end of the year,” said Hinman.
Wanting to be able to provide for her seven children and serve as a model for the community, she and her husband decided to move forward to get the business open.
“We’ve just been kind of slowly renovating as we are able to, so we got this whole drive-through area ready to go,” Hinman said. "At the beginning of this community, there were small businesses everywhere. It was flourished with small businesses. You see a lot of those businesses have died with the generation, so I felt like it was really important for us to bring that back.”
While bringing back an old idea, the business is also helping introduce new ones. “We are a coffee shop and we are a bagel shop. On the Blackfeet Reservation, they don’t have bagels,” said Hinman. "Since May, we’ve been getting an abundance of customers. We’ve been setting new trends. People are trying new things.”
There is still much work to be done, but Hinman is thankful for where she’s at. “We hope to make this a family business for generations to come,” said Hinman.
The deadline for businesses to apply for grant money is December 11; click here for details.
The location (102 SE Boundary Street) was previously known as Billie Jo's restaurant and prior to that Edward's Food Court.