As a result, they will soon put locally roasted and community supported coffee where those mouths are.
“The people that need an IV of coffee with them at all times,” said
Whether they take their java intravenously or by the more traditional oral route, 91 people agreed with Reed's belief that
The loan will allow the Reeds to open the new
In addition to the impending coffee shop launch, similar loans may be available in the future to other entrepreneurs in
“We believe that a local investment group could be the mechanism we need to collectively support businesses that we want to see in our community, democratize the lending process and shift the terrain of who has access to capital in our town,” Vogel told potential lenders as she drummed up interest for the project.
“I think what makes it so viable is that all the people who invested in it are committed now … and most likely will patronize it now,” Newcamp said after the campaign had succeeded. “I think it's just the way we have to go anymore — pool our community resources.”
“Local people helping local people is awesome,” Reed said Friday. The interest-free feature of the loan also makes it “a lot easier to sleep at night.”
Bringing light to an empty storefront
As he spoke, he was waiting for the impending arrival of a new coffee roaster capable of roasting up to a pound of beans at a time. Afternoon sunlight poured in through the front windows of what had previously been a vacant storefront. Reed said he had not yet gotten too far into his usual dosage of about four cups of coffee, four to five shots of espresso and maybe an iced coffee or two for when he's on the go, in addition to his “new vice” — the coffee beans he has taken to chewing since he quit smoking.
“I drink a lot of coffee,” he said with a nod and a smile, though no noticeable jitters.
Reflecting on how he had gotten here, just over a year after opening Drogo N' Tuck in the back corner of the Market House, Reed acknowledged that the interest-free loan that is making it possible brings its own kind of pressure.
“If anything, there's more responsibility toward that loan payment now,” Reed said. “Because the people that invested in this — I know who they are. I see their faces. They were regular customers of ours.”
Reed loves the idea now, but when first approached by Vogel, the notion of strangers coming together to provide
“I mean, we're in
Reed was ready to try anything, however. Drogo N' Tuck had outgrown its space in the Market House, he said, and a new location was necessary if they were going to provide more coffee options and expand the bean roasting operation that has received a strong response from
Reed's pessimism proved to be wildly misplaced. The money that is funding the expansion was raised in less than three weeks in March through Kiva.org, a nonprofit specializing in microloans that facilitates the process without taking any of the money loaned — its operations are financed through grants and optional donations.
Unlike other organizations that are better known for crowdsourcing the fundraising process, such as Kickstarter or
Tarot Bean made it to 15 supporters in just four days, Reed said, and accumulated more than half of the
In another two weeks, he had reached his goal. The loan will be repaid over the course of 36 months. The
While many of the Tarot Bean lenders were
That sounds like a lot of money to be sending to strangers all over the globe, but in fact Hersh has only spent a total of
“The idea of having an independent coffee shop in town is attractive,” he said, citing a number of his fellow faculty members at
While Reed plans to provide free Wi-Fi access to customers, he hopes Tarot Bean will be the kind of place that customers spend some time. Pointing out the combination of bright colors on the walls and the seats for a conversation bar near the front door, he sketched a vision of a space where people look at — and talk to — each other instead of looking at screens and talking into smartphones.
“We're trying to make it a comfortable space where people can come in, bring their laptop in, do some work they need to get done,” he said. “You don't have to talk to people, but we encourage it.”
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