For the owners of some local businesses, making money is not their main motivation.
For three WSU employees, the primary goal is to provide what they believe their community needs.
For example, Wendy Peterson and her partners thought a family-oriented activity center was Pullman’s unfulfilledneed.
“Our group met through bowling at the old Leisure Lanes,” said Peterson, director of admissions. “We thought we needed a place where families could do stuff together, year-round, and everyone in the community could be comfortable.”
Ties to WSU
They brainstormed, market-tested and formed a limited liability company comprised of seven couples. In 2000, they opened Zeppoz Family Fun Center.
All the members of the Zeppoz partnership have strong ties to WSU, Peterson said. They include alums, parents of students, employees and former employees.
The partners have assigned daily administration of the business to a manager, but they enjoy visiting Zeppoz and helping out as needed, she added.
“It tickles me to see people having such a good time there,” Peterson said. “There are senior leagues in the morning, school kids and physical education classes throughout the afternoon, league bowling in the evenings — and Friday and Saturday nights the place is hopping with cosmic bowling.”
Because of community support, the business has been successful, she said, “We wanted to break even. We have been able to improve and expand the business by reinvesting our profits, so we are very happy with how the business is going,” she said.
‘Our community service’
That assessment mirrors the comments of another happy business owner, Nicole Werner, an assistant professor of human development. She is one of four partners who opened the One World Cafe in downtown Moscow.
When she and her husband, Steffen Werner, an associate professor at the University of Idaho, moved to Moscow in 2000, they met another couple with similar interests, Brandy and Jack Sullivan.
“We discovered that both Brandy and Steffen, independently, had decided that Moscow needed a community coffee shop were everybody would be comfortable,” she said.  “We decided to make one.
“In March of 2005, we opened the One World Cafe. All four of us are involved, but Brandy and Steffen have more of an oversight role of our managers and staff.
“We definitely did not do this for the money,” she continued.  “Primarily, we saw a need in our community, and we had the means, so we did it. We joke that this is our community service.”
Commitment in action
In 2004, Keith Bloom and his wife Jan bought the Cafe Moro in Pullman for many of the same community-centered reasons.
“We are strong supporters of a vibrant downtown,” said Bloom, director of construction services and quality assurance. “Buying the business let us demonstrate that commitment.”
In addition, he is proud to provide employment for university students, including their own daughters. The coffeehouse, and the second cafe they opened at the Adams Mall in 2007, now employ 20 students.
And Bloom admits that owning a coffeehouse allows him to support his passion for coffee and the “coffee culture.”
“Cafe Moro is a community center, a center for the exchange of ideas,” he said. “For many students, it is a home away from home. When they thank me for providing this place for them, it makes me feel good.”
While his wife provides daily management, Bloom is responsible for coffee roasting and maintenance.
“After I put in my 10-hour days for WSU, I spend another 30 hours a week — my evenings and weekends — at the business. We’re exhausted, but it does keep me off the street and involved in my community.”