Michael Deeds: 'IdahoHoHo' CD was a financial bust in 2012

mdeeds@idahostatesman.comDecember 8, 2013 

Ever since the tradition began in 2010, Moxie Java's annual local-music CD, "IdahoHoHo," has been a boon for the Idaho Foodbank.

Sales of the first disc generated $5,920 for the Foodbank, enough for 17,760 meals. The second disc earned $18,261 for 54,784 meals.

Quietly, 2012 was a different story. Despite the usual promise on the back of the third CD's case — "Proceeds benefit the Idaho Foodbank" — Moxie Java did not donate a penny.

The inclusion of nationally known acts such as Carole King and Micky & The Motorcars didn't prevent sales from falling about $2,000 short of production costs, says Ken Stokes, vice president of business development and strategy for Moxie Java International.

Surprised? Disappointed? Me, too. I discovered this nugget of information after my Dec. 6 Scene column championing this year's new "IdahoHoHo" collection already had gone to press. Otherwise, I would have mentioned last year's debacle.

Moxie Java faced difficult challenges in 2012 as a company. Owners split off. You've probably noticed that plenty of former Moxie locations are now Lucky Perk or Caffe Capri.

"Mud was slung on both sides," Stokes says.

As a result, "IdahoHoHo" took a beating. The number of coffee shops willing to sell the CD was slashed by half. Of the 2,500 CDs manufactured, only 653 got sold, he says. Moxie is sitting on nearly 2,000 "IdahoHoHo" CDs from 2012.

As a person who supports this Gem State fundraiser each year, I'm not thrilled to be finding out just now that the thing was a financial disaster. Guess I should have asked questions sooner instead of expecting Moxie Java to spill the beans.

But I'm not about to jump off the bandwagon. Moxie Java has taken steps to make sure that the 2012 CD was a hiccup on an otherwise noble path.

The days of generating nearly $20,000 for the Foodbank are gone; there are fewer Moxie Javas in 2013 to sell the disc. But Stokes says the company has agreed to donate $1,000 minimum to the Foodbank. If things go "beautifully," that number could be as high as $5,000, he adds.

"I would love if we could get back really close to our number from 2010," he says. "Let's all just knock on wood and pray that that happens."

In addition to the $15 CD, Moxie Java also is donating $1 from the sale of each 12-ounce bag of "IdahoHoHo Espresso Blend Coffee" to the Idaho Foodbank.

Last year was a bummer. Nobody likes to find out that money that they think is going to charity actually did not.

But if the Foodbank isn't going to complain, I won't, either.

The Foodbank estimates that it can provide three meals for every donated dollar. There are 274,000 Idahoans considered "food insecure," according to the Foodbank - nearly one in four Idaho kids.

"Every year, we look forward to the new CD," says Jenifer Johnson, the Foodbank's vice president of development, "and we anticipate the opportunity to work with Moxie Java and Idaho artists for years to come."

Sounds good. Now let's go stuff some stockings with CDs and feed hungry Idaho families.

TONIGHT IN 'THE OTHER STUDIO'

Tim Johnstone and I will spin music from new holiday albums from the "Duck Dynasty" crew, Kelly Clarkson, Mary J. Blige, Kool & The Gang and plenty more.

We'll also play Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" as covered by Metalachi, the world's "first and only heavy metal mariachi band." Which is awesome.

Metalachi plays Dec. 11 at Neurolux in Boise, by the way. Which is even more awesome. "The Other Studio" airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.

Michael Deeds' column runs Fridays in Scene and Sundays in Life. He co-hosts "The Other Studio" at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River and appears Thursdays on Channel 6 News. Twitter: @IDS_Deeds

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