Nonprofit Tigard coffee shop plans to support local causes
Theres more than just java brewing at the bustling Well & Good Coffee House near Southwest 72nd Avenue.
The café, located at 7357 S.W. Beveland St., takes over the former Beveland Street Bistro and Coffee House Café, which closed its doors in December.
But director Ben Herr said Well & Good offers something that many other coffee shops around town dont: the chance to give back.
All the proceeds from the nonprofit coffee shop will go to support local ministries and worthy causes across the area.
We want to bless the community, Herr said. We want to invest that back into the community.Well & Good opened March 17, and Herr said the response from the community has been great.
Today is a slow day, he said gazing at the two dozen people lounging inside or on its outdoor veranda.
The coffee shop has already attracted a sizeable following, including college students from George Fox, Warner Pacific and Portland Community Colleges Sylvania campus.
We want to build relationships with people, Herr said. Thats our heart. For some, this coffee shop will be a huge blessing, for others its that Cheers feeling because people will say, Everybody knows my name. They love me. They care about my life.
Herr said its a different approach to running a business.
There is nothing wrong with a business that uses their profits to make money, but cant we generate profits to benefit the actual community? Herr asked.
The idea of a community-minded coffee shop is far from new. Symposium Coffees two locations in downtown Tigard and Old Town Sherwood are largely seen as community gathering places.
And Jubilatte, a faith-based coffee shop inside the United Methodist Church on Southwest Walnut Place, offers pay-by-donation coffee and pastries, the proceeds of which benefit the United Methodist Church.
Its a gathering place, Herr said. When we came up with the name, Well is a place of vibrancy. If you dont have a place, like a well, where you can water your community, you wont thrive.
Herr said that once the coffee shop turns a profit, he plans to start regular meetings with people from around the community to start looking at places to fund.
I want to gather people together who have been involved in the community and say, OK, what are some things in the community that folks need? What ministries are doing stuff?
No one has decided which organizations the shop will support, yet, but Herr said funding will be spread across an array of community issues.
We have a huge heart for kids, he said. We have a heart for the homeless and women and stopping trafficking. There is a wide variety of stuff that we want to be involved in.
Thats their purpose
Well & Good is open into the night and on weekends, Herr said, in order to provide a place for Tigards night life to get together.
We want college kids to come in in the evenings and make it this hang out spot that people love to be at and hopefully we do enough business to put something back into things like Compassion Connect and ministries that are really helping the community.
Herr is the executive director of The Masters Plan Foundation, a faith-based organization that helps the poor and oppressed all over the world.
Although the business is founded by faith-based groups, Herr said that the idea of supporting local ministries doesnt have to be about religion.
Once you mention church or religion some people dont want to go to that coffee shop, Herr said.
But churches are able to help in several different ways around the community, Herr said.
Collasae helps put on Compassion Connect a health fair at Tigard High School each year which provides free medical, dental and other services to the areas uninsured.
St. Anthony Catholic Church and Calvin Presbyterian Church operate warming shelters for the homeless on cold winter nights.
The idea of a church trying to do something for the community shouldnt be that foreign of an idea, Herr said. Thats their purpose.
Any profits the coffee shop makes wont go back to a particular church, Herr said, but instead will go to help ministries or local nonprofit groups that serve the community.
In the end, Herr said, its about making the community a better place to live.
The more fragmented our society gets, and the more individualistic our society gets, the less we do stuff like this, he said. We want to be the kind of place where everybody knows your name. We want people to feel that this is their coffee shop.