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'A transformation': Two new businesses open in Lodge Grass for the first time in more than 40 years

Arise Coffee Shop and Barber Shop
Posted at 4:48 PM, May 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 12:22:13-04

LODGE GRASS — On Saturday in Lodge Grass, the town’s eighth annual clean-up was held.

But that’s not all—two new businesses were celebrated as the first shops to open in the town in more than 40 years.

Arise Coffee Shop and Barber Shop
Arise Coffee Shop and Barber Shop

"A brand new business is being opened in the location where the last business (Cozy Corner) was closed down," said Quincy Dabney, the mayor of Lodge Grass, on Saturday.

Quincy Dabney
Quincy Dabney

Dabney was elated Saturday as community members gathered to participate in the clean-up and welcome the new businesses to Lodge Grass.

"The clean-up has always been a big part of the vision," Dabney, who organized the clean-up eight years ago, said on Saturday. "Cleaning up the property, cleaning up the town, prepping them for what's to come."

He said it's a way to instill pride in the community.

"That's what we're seeing here today, is that vision finally unfolding,” said Dabney.

Even more reason to celebrate this Saturday: the new Arise Coffee Shop and Barber Shop opened to the public.

Barber chair at Arise
Barber chair at Arise

"That is the first business in easily 40, 50 years,” Dabney said.

Yaseer and Monique Handall created Arise Native Americans, a nonprofit, in hopes of doing community outreach projects like this.

Monique and Yaseer Handall
Monique and Yaseer Handall

"We believe in the transformation of people, but also transformation of communities," Yaseer said in Spanish as Monique translated. "And so this and everything that we're doing here is a goal towards that."

They were joined in the project by Merval Bud Phelan and his wife Hannah. Merval works for Faith Chapel and will be the shop’s barber.

Merval Bud Phelan
Merval Bud Phelan

"If you have a main focus of restoration, like, it can really bring healing to a lot of people. That was my focus. That's my goal, and it's happening,” Phelan said. "Being a Christian, being a minister, you can minister to a lot of people and help. But I have discovered personally, you really change lives in a (barber) chair."

Faith Chapel offered to pay for a drink at the event for those interested. They also offered to pay for haircuts as a fundraiser for the Lodge Grass Rez Kids Camp, put on by One Heart Warriors.

'It's on us!' sign at the grand opening
'It's on us!' sign at the grand opening

The building came from a flea market and was renovated by Lodge Grass community members, Arise, and a few missionaries from Washington.

"When we see communities like this, where you don't see business, there's not a lot of jobs. And because of that, sometimes crimes tends to be higher," Yaseer said in Spanish as Monique translated. "This community has shown us that they truly have a lot of hope."

Menu at Arise
Menu at Arise

"We're here as a mission team to help create an environment here in Lodge Grass and start this new business,” said Steve Rozier, one of the five missionaries. "We're just excited to be a part of it."

Steve Rozier
Steve Rozier

Mayor Dabney and the Handalls believe this is just the start:

"We're actually looking at a business incubator. We're hoping to put a restaurant on the top level. And housing,” Dabney said. "There's a lot more we need to do, but it's good."

During the grand opening ceremony
During the grand opening ceremony

"This place can get transformed again," Yaseer said in Spanish as Monique translated. "This is just a tiny piece of what we think is in the forefront, or in the future, for Lodge Grass."

To learn more about Arise Native Americans, click here.