Specialty Coffee Retailer

Specialty Coffee Retailer February 2014

Specialty Coffee Retailer is a publication for owners, managers and employees of retail outlets that sell specialty coffee. Its scope includes best sales practices, supplies, business trends and anything else to assist the small coffee retailer.

Issue link: https://read.dmtmag.com/i/258589

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Page 27 of 51

28 | February 2014 • www.specialty-coffee.com Ministry just seemed to fit," says cafe owner and CosPlay fan Joe Scott. "I knew when opening the cafe that I wanted to have a mission of inclusion--that's part of Geek culture. But I couldn't pull that off on my own. It's become the work of a collaborative group of people," Scott says. Scott's collaborators are his baristas, who meet monthly to discuss ideas and plan programs, like a trivia night held last summer. In lieu of a cover charge, the cafe asked for donations for the local food bank. "e food banks were hurting at that time. We collected more than 200 pounds of food to help out a little," Scott says. CC's Coffee House, which began as a division of Community Coffee Company nearly 20 years ago and recently spun out as a separate entity, is still defining its corporate giving program. But in the midst of everything, the coffee chain remains an integral part of its communities in cities like New Orleans and Baton Rouge. "We haven't come up with a branded program yet, but we do know the lane we want to play in," explains CC's President Celton Hayden, Jr. During its time as a division, CC's participated in the parent company's Cash For Schools program by encouraging its guests to save store receipts and to make purchases via its loyalty card program where guests' account would be linked to schools of their choice to receive credit. Community Coffee Company has conducted its Cash For Schools program for over 25 years, with K-12 schools earning more than $4 million to date. Even though CC's Coffee Houses are independent, both the cafe chains and the coffee company are still owned and operated by the Saurage family. e shops still plan to carry on that broader mission of helping children and supporting education; just not through the Cash For Schools program. "Going forward, our commitment will be to keep in line with our owners' commitment to children and education," said Hayden. "e corporate level program is still being fleshed out, but that has not stopped what we have done organically in our stores for nearly 20 years." Hayden pointed to a long term relationship with the City Year program in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. City Year is an education-focused nonprofit that unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service to keep students in school and on track for graduation. "ey do great work and we like to participate in the things they have going on in the community," Hayden says. "So within those tenets we are branching out to define our own approach to supporting children and education." At the local level, CC's 24 corporate stores have always provided coffee experiences to different philanthropic endeavors, without having outlined a specific policy governing that outreach. "We empower the General Managers at the store level to work within the confines of the operating budget of the store. No Boundaries While some community giving is focused on the immediate community, other cafes have erased the boundaries that define their community. Katrell Christie founded e Learning Tea five years ago aer reluctantly accepting a trip to India with a regular customer from her Candler Park, GA coffee house, Dr. Bombay's Underwater Tea Party. inking the trip would provide an opportunity to learn more about the Darjeeling tea she sold at her shop, she decided to go aer turning down several request. Her business trip turned into a personal awakening she could not forget. "Going to a third world country is shocking. It steals your innocence," Christie says. "And until you see that poverty firsthand you have no clue what's going on the other side of the world." In Darjeeling, Christie met a few teenage girls at an orphanage she thought she could help. "I thought I would maybe buy a few books - something to give them a lile bit of aid. But then I realized what a small amount it took to actually provide for somebody. It was actually less money than I put in my car in gas every month," she says. She returned home aer five weeks and started e Learning Tea, which provides educational scholarships to teenage girls who are too old for orphanages, but not old enough to be self sufficient. She put up a sign in the store describing her trip. She added a jar for spare change. Six months later her shop had raised enough money to get 11 girls into an apartment for six months, enroll them in school, buy uniforms, provide a food stipend and more. e girls aged out of the orphanage at 16. "I made a promise that I would come back in six months and keep the program going," Christie says. Since then Dr. Bombay's began hosting an authentic Indian dinner, with all proceeds going to e Learning Tea in Darjeeling. e store also sells e Learning Tea branded teas to support the non-profit. "What the store and the tea provides is everything those girls need to get started in the program. ey will eventually be able to live on their own without our help," she says. But the support didn't stop with the jar or the teas or the dinners. Christie went to all of her employees and gave them the opportunity to volunteer their tips, promising to match any donations. In six months, Christie and her staff went back to India. "All of them were willing to give up 100 percent of their tips to be a part of this," Christie says. e program to date has supported 11 girls in Darjeeling, four in Calcua and is preparing to award scholarships to 14 more girls in Chennai. 26-29 community SCR0214.indd 28 2/6/2014 12:26:26 PM

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