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Flint Coffee Shop Successfully Opens Despite the City's Water Disaster

Wildroot Coffee hasn't allowed a little poison water to slow it down.

Wildroot Coffee/Facebook

Flint, Mich., is in the midst of a ongoing water crisis, leaving residents and restaurants in the city without clean H2O. But in the face of the disaster, one new Flint coffee shop is pushing ahead. Wildroot Coffee began service last week, reports the Flint Journal, shrugging off the city's problems.

"Flint has a surprising amount of resilience, Midwestern can-do, and good energy is showing up all around the city," co-owner Luke Leffel told the Journal. "This is also where we live. We want to be a part of what's going on here, water crisis or not."

Restaurants in Flint are struggling with the costs of filtering or purchasing clean water. Wildroot is using bottled water, but Leffel claims his business isn't facing much of an additional burden: "Water filtration is necessary in any cafe. Good water makes good coffee." Leffel says he and the Wildroot team are working hard "to show that this space is for [the people of Flint] and for the community, and that they can trust us and our products."

Flint's water has been rendered undrinkable due to the city's corroding pipe system, which is causing lead to contaminate the supply. The disaster stems from the city treating its water with chlorine to kill E. coli bacteria, but far too much of the chemical was added to the system. Even though restaurants have been using filtered and bottled water, they've had a tough time convincing customers it's safe to drink.

But those issues don't appear to be affecting Wildroot. In a Facebook post, the shop announced its first week was a smashing success.

"We can't believe so much has already happened in our first week," the post reads. "To name a few things: we finally opened our doors, received so much support from our neighborhood and the people of flint, almost ran out of coffee on our first day, got a few people hooked on our maple lattes, expanded our menu to include some fun toast options, worked out a few kinks, and had a blast meeting all of you!"

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