Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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W h a t ' s t h e o l u t i o n ? " C o f f e e h o p s r o v i d e a l a c e h e r e e o p l e a n s p e n d t i m e t o g e t h e r . n d f e s i d e n t s t h i n k t h e y ' r e b r i n g i n g n e o p l e t h a t h o u l d n ' t b e t h e r e , t ' s e a s y t o o i n t t o t h e m a s h a n g i n g t h e e i g h b o r h o o d . " — J e f f r E y P a r k e r , P h . D . a n d i d a t e n o c i o l o g y , n i v e r s i t y f C h i c a g o at that location is really customer-focused. Customers sit at the bar and watch the baristas make their drinks. It's almost like a theater of coffee," Lori says. The message owners send is crucial as well. For Shanita Nicholas and Amanda-Jane Thomas, co-owners of Sip & Sonder in the Ingle- wood section of Los Angeles, working in the neighborhood was an important priority. "We're not from Inglewood," Shanita says, "Even before we had the idea [of opening a coffee shop], we were already doing events in the neighborhood, like meet-ups for black entre- preneurs. People already knew us from the panels we were doing and the events we were hosting. So by the time we opened, people knew who we were. People know us fi rst from our involvement in the community." Along with serving quality coffee, Sip & Sonder exists to provide a space for creatives in the neighborhood to work and socialize, and will have a recording studio in the back of the coffee bar eventually, say Amanda-Jane and Shanita. "Once we got the space to a point where we could have people in the space [before we opened], we made a con- scious decision to invite people in so they could begin to partake in the space. Almost every week, we hosted a different event," says Aman- da-Jane. Providing spaces designed specifi cally for the neighborhood's existing community was crucial to them both from the get-go. Erick Arguello, president and founder of Calle 24, a group dedicat- ed to preserving the Latino history and community in the Mission Dis- trict in San Francisco, has made it a point to talk with business owners and ensure they serve the needs of the community. "The Mission has been sold by developers as a hip, up-and-coming neighborhood, and most people don't know its history or that they're moving into a work- ing-class Latino neighborhood," Erick says. Calle 24 gives potential business owners a list of six ordinances, and asks owners to implement at least four of them. They include, for example, hiring locally or being family-friendly, and he follows up with businesses after they've opened. " We look a lot at the built environment—what type of design elements they have, who are they marketing to, and the prices," he says. Erick believes that businesses should sell products at a price that's manageable for people of varying levels of affluence. "In the end, it really works out better for businesses, because you're catering to all income brackets," he says. "And when the economy fluctuates, the commu- nity will keep you afloat." s After Ian of Cuplux mentioned the owner of Enderly Coffee, Tony Santoro, we reached out to him to see what work he and his wife, Becky, did before starting their roastery and soon-to-open café in the Enderly Park neighborhood of Charlotte, N.C. "To say there's a need for a coffee shop isn't true, but to say there's a need for jobs and investment is absolutely true," says Tony, who advised Ian to engage with the community upon opening Cuplux. Tony notes that Enderly Park is "on the bubble" in terms of development, and he talks bluntly about it. "Development is going to happen," he says. "Our city is going to change and it's going to affect our neighborhood. I'm choosing to be a part of it but to do it in an inclusive/ethical way. A coffee shop is going to eventually come here regardless." Tony and Becky, who were residents of Enderly Park for 10 years before opening the shop, push future coffee-shop owners to think about why they're opening cafés in the fi rst place. "If you're bringing a shop into a neighborhood because it's affordable or you see develop- ment, and you're not doing it for the people in the neighborhood, then you may not be doing it for the right reasons," Tony says. For some, that's not enough. When we reached out to Defend Boyle Heights, the protest group that demanded that Weird Wave Coffee close, they sent us a series of posts and documents outlining their mission. "Enabling gentrifi cation … is inherently racist. There is nothing good in gentrifi cation," the posts read. "Gentrifi cation pro- motes economic growth over the stability and wellbeing of the people." The Defend Boyle Heights website talks about the capitalistic and fundamentally racist roots of gentrifi cation, relating it to colonialism, and notes that access to housing should never be measured through economic ability, but should be a basic right. "I understand the tactics of the Boyle Heights group because they're still 75–80 percent Latino. [In San Francisco], we already lost thousands of our residents years ago. We lost Valencia Street," Erick of Calle 24 says. Protesting by the Boyle Heights collective has gotten results—one of the newcomer art galleries whose arrival inspired much of the group's fury over gentrifi cation has shuttered. Weird Wave, however, remains—for now, at least. s p p w p c e A i r y i p s i p c n y g c i s U o 98 barista magazine

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