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Couple opens coffee shop to make friends and meet new people

<i>Rett Nelson/East Idaho News</i><br/>Christina Christiaens
Rett Nelson/East Idaho News
Rett Nelson/East Idaho News
Christina Christiaens

By Rett Nelson

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    RIGBY, Idaho ( — When Cory and Christina Christiaens moved to Rigby in 2019, they couldn’t believe how many people showed up to help move furniture and welcome them to the community.

That experience was highly influential in their decision to open a coffee and smoothie shop earlier this year.

“We thought, ‘How could we meet more people and facilitate people meeting people?’ A lot of people get to know each other over a cup of coffee … or a cool (drink) during the hot summer. We thought about a coffee shop, and that way we could meet more people,” Cory tells

Cafe et Amour, which is French for “coffee and love,” opened Monday at its new location at 180 West Main St. next to Majestic Art Framing in Rigby. The menu includes Red Bull spritzers, a popular drink in the Pacific Northwest where the Christiaens are from that adds ice and fruit to a Red Bull energy drink. They also offer baked goods, such as cookies, muffins and other snacks.

The business operates out of a small trailer and had previously opened in June at Rigby South Park near the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. Over the last several months, Cory says they’ve been much busier than anticipated.

“It’s been great, especially since we added smoothies. The summer got hot (early on), so that got us started. It quickly spread through word of mouth, and we’ve steadily built up more regular (customers), saying, ‘I heard about you from so-and-so,’ or ‘I saw you guys on Facebook,’” says Cory.

On Monday, Christina says they had more people visit them at their new location than “any Monday at the fairgrounds.”

As they started looking for a permanent location, the Christiaens visited with many business owners in town about setting up shop. The owners of Majestic were “ecstatic” about it.

“Their names are Hubert and Darci Barlow. They were like, ‘Yeah absolutely. Let’s do it! We want something there!’ They’ve been so accommodating and super supportive of us,” Cory says.

Prior to moving to Rigby, the Christiaens had been living near Seattle. Cory graduated from college in 2019 after getting out of the Navy. They needed a bigger house for their four kids but the housing market is “crazy expensive” there, Cory says. He has family in Bozeman, Montana, and wanted to be closer to them but didn’t want to live there because of the weather.

One of his old Navy buddies, who lives in Ammon, spoke highly of the area. Figuring eastern Idaho was a good halfway point between Seattle and Bozeman, they initially started looking for houses in Idaho Falls before ultimately finding a place in Rigby.

“We walked in, and it was like, ‘Yep, this is it. We don’t need to look anymore,’” Cory says of their house in Rigby.

Many of the people who helped them move in were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though the Christiaens are not members of the faith, they admired how tight-knit of a community it was and opened the coffee shop so they could get to know people in their own way.

“We started jibber-jabbering about it a while ago and we decided about six months ago to pull the trigger,” Cory explains. “We started looking for a trailer and found this one that was custom-built. It was great for what we wanted.”

Another Navy buddy, Emmanuel Butler, owns a coffee company in Ontario, California, called Special Needz Coffee. Cory says Butler helped lay the groundwork for their vision by providing coffee beans for Cafe et Amour.

The couple is open to the idea of opening a storefront someday, but for now, they’re enjoying serving customers and meeting new people every day.

Cafe et Amour is open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

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