Non-profits and other charitable organizations aren’t the only workplaces that do good. When Seth and Kelly Kelley, co-founders of RedTail Coffee in Fort Collins, Colo. opened shop in May, they decided that their business could make a positive difference in the world.
The coffee shop is staffed by two trained baristas and one employee who is currently homeless, Think Progress reports. According to RedTail’s website, the company has partnered with Fort Collins Housing Authority, Hand Up, and the City of Fort Collins to provide job training, educational opportunities, and careers to the local homeless community.
In fact, RedTail Coffee’s new employees will be exclusively hired from their immediate vicinity, Red Tail Ponds, a new residential project being built for local homeless and low-income individuals.
A February study found that in just Fort Collins, the homeless population has grown to nearly 300 people, about 50 more from just last year.
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The Coloradan reports that the Kelleys got the idea for their shop after attending a “heated” neighborhood meeting earlier this year, where some people expressed their fears and negative stereotypes over the new housing project. Kelly hopes that her coffee shop will “break that barrier.”
Seth told Think Progress, “It challenges the idea that people who are homeless are lazy or just aren’t working hard enough.” In fact, RedTail’s current homeless employee (unnamed in the article) has to wait in line every morning to shower at the shelter just to get ready in time for his job.
“It takes a tremendous amount of work, way more than the average person, just to get out of homelessness,” Seth said.
But it’s clear that taking a chance on someone who society might not be considered “hireable” is paying off. Reports say that in the few months the shop has been opened, the company has already turned a profit.
“It’s been a big learning curve for us all,” admits Seth, “but we’ve grown through the process.”
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