Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A Cause in a Cafe

The other day (April 21st), in a friends cafe that I used to work at, they hosted a charity event for Bikes to Rwanda. This is a cause championed by Stumptown Coffee Roasters, specifically Duane, who has been 'stumping' for this cause for quite a while. The event was coordinated by Clara Seasholtz, who provided posters, brochures, and handouts for the event. Stumptown brought over a couple of employees, lots of Rwandan coffee, a film on a coffee farm, and a few of their friends. The cafe promoted the event to their customers (and told their customers to bring their friends), to their family, and asked a local musician to come play. The event was great, they had enough donations at this event alone to purchase 7 bikes, and had an excellent turnout, with more people there than could fit in the place.

I point this out to show that it doesn't take a lot of clout, or take a lot of money, to have a huge event for a cafe that will increase their presence in the community, and thereby increasing business. This is what I think is missing from the minds of many cafe owners today, The Big Picture, i.e. the community as a whole. Most cafe owners think in very linear lines, always asking themselves the same questions over and over, How do I increase business? Where do I advertise? Why am I still losing money? How do I cut costs? They keep asking these same silly questions until they go out of business not knowing why they didn't do well. You don't know the difference in being successful is being part of the greater community, and when you become part of the greater community do you become successful.

But as I see it, when it all boils down to it, the good guys always win. Not just because they are good, but because they aren't bad at what they do. As long as you are good to people, and you serve good products, you will always do good.

(Oh, and by the way, they made no money on the event, but the amount of increased business over the following week made the books even out. Plus now they have about 40 to 60 more customers who are highly impressed by what they do how they do it, and what they know. An educated customer is a customer for life.)

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