Roasters Coffee

Roasters Coffee in Walla Walla.

Roasters Coffee, based out of Pasco, has a new CEO and president after its founder Wes Heyden landed in a brew of controversy this summer.

Derek Tonn will take the helm of the drive-

through coffee chain with a stand in Walla Walla at 1110 Dalles Military Road.

Tonn moves over from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory where he was a financial specialist, according to a release.

Heyden announced June 30 he would resign from the company after a “juvenile conviction” was brought to light that month. Heyden is a registered sex offender, stemming from a felony charge in 1993 when he was 15 years old in Josephine County, Oregon, according to the Tri-City Herald.

Heyden’s conviction was brought to light following allegations from employees that he was not sympathetic to the Black Lives Matter movement and had told them not to wear apparel that featured the slogan.

Heyden also used the hashtag #sexoffenderlivesmatter when defending himself in a now deleted tweet, according to the Herald.

According to the latest announcement, Tonn was already joining the company as its new chief financial officer when he was approached by Heyden about taking on a greater role.

Tonn obliged and Heyden relinquished his position in the company to Tonn.

“We had a series of in-depth discussions about what was best for Roasters, and we decided that having me step into the role of president and CEO is in the best interests for our team members and customers,” Tonn said in the release.

Heyden will no longer be active in the company, but his holdings will still be operated by a third-party trust fund, according to the release.

“I am honored to lead such a well-loved, iconic local brand,” Tonn said in the release. “I have been a customer for years, and two of my children have worked at Roasters, so I’ve had a front-row seat to witness Roasters customer-centric approach. I look forward to contributing to the company’s future growth.”

Roasters, founded in 2009, expanded into Walla Walla in 2018. It also has three stores in Richland, with others in Pasco, Kennewick and West Richland.

Jedidiah Maynes can be reached at jedidiahmaynes@wwub.com or 509-526-8318.

Jedidiah Maynes is the managing editor of Walla Walla Lifestyles magazine. He also writes about business news in the Valley and covers a variety of others topics on occasion. He enjoys making music and puns.