Poweshiek Trading Post hosts weekly pop-up shop with local coffee roasters


Maddi Shinall

Poweshiek Trading Post, located in downtown Grinnell, has partnered with Happy Home Coffee Roasters to host a weekly pop-up shop.

Marcy Cassidy-Mapp, Staff Writer

The Poweshiek Trading Post has recently partnered with Happy Home Coffee Roasters to host coffee pop-ups every Saturday in hopes of fostering a mutual space for both townspeople and students.

Located downtown at 826 Main St., Ren and Cameron Fisher founded the Poweshiek Trading Post in 2021 out of a love for antiques. The owners of the local vintage clothing store have since made efforts to strengthen the community throughout the town through a pop-up coffee shop.

“It’s just kind of an effort to give one more thing to do in Grinnell and provide another space to create community,” Cameron Fisher said. “We wanted to do something that changed the rhythm of what Grinnell had going on.”

The opportunity presented itself through the Fishers’ longtime friend and owner of Happy Home Coffee Roasters, Carlos Simms Jr., who shared a common desire and needed a venue to host events. He transports his own equipment from Des Moines on Saturday mornings and provides espresso, drip coffee, lattes and other drinks while customers shop or socialize.

“The point is for people to hang out,” Ren Fisher said. “He roasts his own coffee, so he pretty much brings all of his equipment, and all that we provide is just a space.”

Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Simms Jr. played football at Grinnell College in his first year. Afterwards, he transferred to Georgia Southern University before returning to Iowa and joining the campus ministry at University of Iowa.

“It dawned on me, you can do so much good for the world just by making a cup of coffee. So, that’s where the vision to start Happy Home first started,” Simms Jr. said. “I wanted to create a company that could cultivate belonging.”

Simms Jr. has previously worked for Chick-fil-A management and said that his experiences working in the hospitality sector turned into a passion for coffee and connection, which led to the founding of Happy Home Coffee Roasters. The Des Moines-based coffee roaster works closely with a company located in Kansas City that cooperates with farms to source coffee beans from Ethiopia, Kenya and Brazil.

“That’s the whole reason I started my company — because I want to create space,” Simms said. “I want to create a product where people could come from different backgrounds and gather together.”

Simms Jr. said that one of Happy Homes’ primary objectives is to unify people from different backgrounds through coffee. 

“Happy Home stands for cultivating joy and belonging,” Ren Fisher said. “Carlos has a passion for coffee, and it’s a very universal thing to invite people to have a cup of coffee.”

Simms Jr. said he eventually plans to open a specialty coffee shop storefront for the company with support of his wife Kaitlyn and his three children, Zion, Elim and Ezra.

“I have dreams and aspirations to have one of those specialty coffee shops where you can get the dopest coffees sourced ethically from farms and create a space for people that are college students,” said Simms Jr.