New ownership of long-time Folsom favorite coffee house

By: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
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Since 1991, Coffee Republic has been built by family, crew and the community and recently changed ownership.

Sunny Zaighami, owner of Pete’s Restaurant and Brewhouse next door, was looking to open up another business in the Rocklin area. Upon making this decision, an opportunity to purchase one of Folsom’s long-time favorites presented itself.

The previous owner was looking to sell and Zaighami said it was the right opportunity at the right time.

“I know the business. I see the traffic they get as a neighbor and they have a good following,” he said. “Twenty-five years is a long time to be in business.”

The long-loved coffee house sells handmade coffee, tea, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, salads, soups and more.

“The coffee is a major part of the business. We have good coffee,” Zaighami said. “We also have great sandwich recipes that the previous owner created and people really enjoy them.”

Another aspect of Coffee Republic is the front patio.

“When it gets warmer out during the summer, the line will be out the door. I have seen it all the way to the front gate,” he said. “It’s crazy. It gets really busy.”

The atmosphere in the shop is laid back and relaxing. It is the perfect setting to hangout and chat with friends and get to work.

“When you come in here, there are so many things to look at and check out,” Zaighami said. “It has good vibes, as well as the people who come in. It has that warm feeling.”

Mark Eister, manager, has worked for Coffee Republic for four and a half years and he said all the employees are really invested in the shop, even though they don’t own it.

“I have been in the food and beverage industry for 11 or 12 years and I have noticed a lot of people will just show up, get a pay check and go home,” he said. “The group I started with here, worked under, and now manage, if something needs to be cleaned or fixed, we take it upon ourselves to do it. I have stories of long nights on the roof changing the A/C system because it broke. I have a pride of ownership.”

Eister said it really is the local clientele and regular customers who make the business what it is.

Zaighami said his favorite aspect of Coffee Republic is the staff.

“They do a good job, especially Mark,” he said. “He has been a really big asset to the business, as far as running the place and working with us.”

Zaighami’s idea for the future of Coffee Republic is to either expand and open more locations or start franchising out for others to duplicate the business, but first, Zaighami said there is some work that needs to be done.

“I have some renovations I want to do before we start expanding such as the upstairs office as the tiling in the back of the kitchen,” he said. “I want to create a new POS system and work on being as consistent as possible with the food.”

Zaighami said he is looking forward to providing a clean and good atmosphere for the community and that he is excited about the journey ahead of him.

“I am a big dreamer. I dream at night time, during the day time, all the time,” he said. “I am taking baby steps toward my goals and I am going to keep going for it. I have a good momentum right now that I think is on the route I have been dreaming of.”
Zaighami said he hopes to be the best coffee shop in Folsom.

Coffee Republic is open 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The coffee house is located at 6610 Folsom-Auburn Road.

For more information, go to or call 916-987-8001.