How it all began. . . (Part 3)
Ultimately, COFFEE TO THE PEOPLE turned out a lot different from other coffeeshops because of my involvement. While I continued to let Bob and Megan worry about the coffee and the money, I worked on the theme. Since we had already committed ourselves to being a values-led business, the next logical step, I decided, was to carry that message into our decor.
The slogan for COFFEE TO THE PEOPLE is "Empowerment. In a cup." because we empower people by giving them choices that are environmentally and socially responsible. I wanted to make that message of empowerment and responsibility extant in everything we did, so I decorated the shop with posters of leaders of great progressive social movments from history--Martin Luther King, Jr., Susan B. Anthony, Mahatma Gandhi, etc.-- and inspiring quotations on the importance of social activism. To mix it up a bit, I also covered one wall with progressive bumperstickers. To help people become more politically involved, I set up a "community action center" where we post information about current events and tell people how to contact their elected representatives.
At first I was anxious about how people would react to seeing such a strong political message in a place of business, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive. It might not work everywhere, but in the Haight people seem to appreciate the sentiment.