Friday, April 2, 2010

Overflow Coffee Bar Wants to Change the World

Amanda and Brandon Neely want to change the world. Unlike a lot of people, who have similar aspirations, the Neelys actually have a plan. They want to use their love of coffee as a vehicle for change.

Their dream is to open Overflow Coffee Bar in the South Loop, the neighborhood where they live. Amanda is a native of Ohio, who graduated from the University of Chicago. Brandon is from Texas and a former millitary man. The Neelys envision a local cafĂ© where neighbors meet neighbors and the bonds of community are formed. The mission of Overflow Coffee Bar is “Giving South Loop residents, students and workers the opportunity to change the world.”

How can a coffee bar change the world? One way is to offer customers coffee that is purchased for a fair price, a price that enables local growers in developing countries to support themselves and their families. Believe it or not, the average coffee grower lives on about a $1 a day. Overflow Coffee Bar will sell only fair trade, organic coffee. Coffee that is grown organically is better for the environment; organic farming methods do not destroy the rainforests where the coffee is grown. Coffee farming that uses non-organic methods, requires the digging up of sections of the rainforest when the coffee is harvested.

The Neelys are in the process of raising financing to open Overflow Coffee Bar, as well as scouting locations in the South Loop. When Overflow opens, it will be as an L3C corporation. An L3C is a low-profit limited liability company (LLC). It is a hybrid legal structure combining the advantages of the limited liability company with the social advantages of a non-profit entity. The primary focus of the L3C is not to make money, but to achieve socially beneficial aims, with profit making as a secondary goal.

If you’re interested in learning more about Overflow Coffee Bar, please visit their Web site to learn more about their vision. Even better, consider donating some funds in support of their efforts. If you think you know someone who would be interested in learning more about the Neelys and Overflow Coffee Bar, please forward this post using the e-mail application below.

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