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Nonprofit Tigard coffee shop plans to support local causes

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Barista Amanda Smithberger makes a latte at Well & Good Coffee in Tigard. The café opened in March in the former site of Beveland Street Bistro off Southwest 72nd Avenue.There’s 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 don’t: 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.

Gathering place

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Well & Good Coffee hopes to give to local causes, such as the Compassion Connect health clinic in Tigard, which provides medical and dental screenings for the uninsured once a year.The coffee shop has already attracted a sizeable following, including college students from George Fox, Warner Pacific and Portland Community College’s Sylvania campus.

“We want to build relationships with people,” Herr said. “That’s our heart. For some, this coffee shop will be a huge blessing, for others it’s that ‘Cheers’ feeling because people will say, ‘Everybody knows my name. They love me. They care about my life.’”

Herr said it’s a different approach to running a business.

“There is nothing wrong with a business that uses their profits to make money, but can’t we generate profits to benefit the actual community?” Herr asked.

The idea of a community-minded coffee shop is far from new. Symposium Coffee’s 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.

“It’s a gathering place,” Herr said. “When we came up with the name, ‘Well’ is a place of vibrancy. If you don’t have a place, like a well, where you can water your community, you won’t 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.”by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Ben Herr, director of Well & Good Coffee on Beveland Street, chats with customers. The nonprofit coffee shop donates all its profits to support local ministries across the city.

‘That’s their purpose’

Well & Good is open into the night and on weekends, Herr said, in order to provide a place for Tigard’s 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 Master’s 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 doesn’t have to be about religion.

“Once you mention church or religion some people don’t 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 area’s 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 shouldn’t be that foreign of an idea,” Herr said. “That’s their purpose.”

Any profits the coffee shop makes won’t 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, it’s 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.”