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Hometown Eats: Space Rabbit Coffee Company

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 4:42 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - “I’ve spent enough money on coffee, might as well see if I can sell it,” joked Space Rabbit Coffee Company owner Tanner Ratcliffe. He was a career nurse.

“I used to work at Roanoke Memorial,” said Ratcliffe.

After he left Roanoke Memorial, he became a traveling nurse, living in an RV with his wife Lindsay.

“Me and my wife have always been coffee addicts,” joked Ratcliffe.

In 2020, that addiction turned into a business, Space Rabbit Coffee Company.

It all kicked off in 2016 when the couple was in Lake Havasu City, Arizona when their favorite local coffee shop owner gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

“Off handed she was like ‘I’m selling some coffee equipment’ and I was like ‘how much?’ It was right when COVID hit, and I was kind of burnt out, so we rolled the dice,” said Ratcliffe.

They bought her equipment and roaster, found a bright yellow trailer in Utah, hitched it to their RV and started the voyage back east. Space Rabbit was go for launch. With his wife on the business and marketing side, his sister Mackenzie helping in the trailer, Tanner was ready to introduce his hometown people of the New River Valley and beyond to this Southwestern blend.

“We do a lot of CVS parking lots in Radford and Pulaski, but we have pretty set routines for everyday of the week we’re in a different spot in the New River Valley,” said Ratcliffe

If all goes according to plan, with help from $5,000 they won through the gauntlet business competition, they’ll open a drive through in Christiansburg in August, complete with mini donuts but don’t get it twisted, the mission for Space Rabbit is the large variety of coffee.

“We made it a simple one, two, three step process. You choose hot, iced, or frozen, size, and style. That’s our summer menu and any of those you can get hot, iced, or frozen,” said Ratcliffe.

Ratcliffe said he never really saw himself as an entrepreneur but wouldn’t want it any other way.

“I just like the freedom of it, I don’t have any hospital administrator over me, and I can set up wherever I want to set up,” said Ratcliffe.

With his former career literally behind him, Tanner is hoping to take Space Rabbit Coffee Company to infinity and beyond.

“Trying to build something for me and my family. It’s been a lot of fun,” said Ratcliffe.

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