Husker fans attending a Saturday football game might wonder if there’s something strange in their neighborhood. Despite what his proton pack and blue jumpsuit may lead people to believe, Jeremy Furrow isn’t on a mission to capture rogue ghouls trying to sneak into Memorial Stadium. Furrow simply wants to serve football fans a great cup of Roastbusters Coffee.
Equipped and ready to battle caffeine deficiency, Jeremy Furrow suits up every Saturday in Ghostbusters-themed attire to bring his business, Roastbusters Coffee, to the streets.
His backpack looks a lot like something Peter Venkman would wear, but instead of holding conquered ghosts, his pack holds 28 cups of coffee. The two five-liter tanks pour piping hot coffee on one side and refreshing cold brew on the other, so customers of either temperature preference can be satisfied with their purchase.
After Furrow dispenses a cup, customers can grab their own lid from the proton pack’s side compartment and watch him hop on his electric scooter to zip away toward his next destination.
“What I wanted to do was really kinda shock the coffee culture a little bit … I wanted to be able to go where coffee typically couldn’t,” Furrow said.
Roastbusters has achieved this, according to Furrow, and this isn’t even his first innovative coffee business. Furrow started his caffeine career with Kinetic Brew in 2008, a company that served coffee inside the Bourbon Theatre.
Kinetic Brew led him to his next coffee venture, Gojoe, the Midwest’s first ambulance-turned mobile coffee bar which was founded in 2012.
Furrow soon began to wonder if he could deliver more coffee with even less equipment. A little investigation led him to the only manufacturer in the world that made a wearable coffee backpack capable of serving both hot and cold coffee simultaneously.
To Furrow, the German-made product looked a lot like a proton pack from the ‘80s flick “Ghostbusters.” When he made that connection, that seed of an idea he couldn’t wait to share was planted.
“[When] I would bring up the fact that it was basically like coffee ‘Ghostbusters,’ there was just this weird little smile that would creep over people’s faces, and I knew I was onto something.”
Roastbusters began on Aug. 31, 2019, answering “the call” just in time for this season’s first Husker game.
Handling the aesthetics is his design-savvy wife, Amy Furrow, who runs the social media and graphic design portion of the business. She also created the floating ghost logo and red-and-blue Roastbusters costume to strengthen the brand’s thematic nature.
Amy wasn’t surprised when her husband first pitched her the original idea.
“Honestly, being married to Jeremy means hearing 500 new business ideas a week. This is one that has stuck with him for years, and a lot of the encouragement came from friends of ours who really championed this and made it a reality,” Amy said. “It has been beautiful to see the power of community through our local church, Mercy City, and like-minded entrepreneurs to really get this thing up and running.”
The business has experienced their fair share of hiccups in the past month since the company’s launch date. For starters, Jeremy’s pack can only hold so much coffee, meaning he has to make trips back and forth between his car and his locations. Secondly, Roastbusters was recently informed that they weren’t allowed to sell their brewed beverages near the stadium because Roastbusters is not a vendor for the university.
As of this week, Jeremy plans to focus on foot traffic south of the stadium near 8th and N streets. He said he would love for Roastbusters to be granted vendor status in order to park a Roastbuster-mobile on Stadium Drive during game days, but the University of Nebraska has not added a new vendor in 15 years. However, Furrow is hopeful.
“By no means am I trying to go where I’m not supposed to go … I’m really just hoping to build a relationship with the university and with the folks who are handling all of [the concessions and the vendors], so that they can understand that while they don’t serve coffee inside the stadium, maybe I can be there, and when they start I’ll step away … [cold brew provides] another option, because inside the stadium all they have is hot coffee.”
Despite all the setbacks, the couple has enjoyed building and growing Roastbusters and has many ideas planned for the future. Jeremy added that he’s not a bit ashamed to put on the costume and strut around, thinking his theater background may be partly to blame.
“It has been fun, walking around, scooting around, getting the looks and the cheers and the ‘who-you-gonna-calls?”’Jeremy said. “People seem to know immediately that that’s the theme.”
On Oct. 1, 2019, the business will expand to catering. Eventually, the Roastbusters team hopes to add a delivery team and an app that will allow customers to order coffee from wherever they may be. Those interested in booking Roastbusters can visit their website or find them on Instagram.