By: Hunter Mylek
Q: It’s amazing to see a mission and vision like yours; what milestones have you achieved recently in accomplishing your mission and vision?
A: “Thank you! In addition to opening our physical cafe space in December, we just installed our coffee roaster so that we can begin roasting beans in-house! We are excited to start hosting more workshops in our space and introduce people to the world of coffee roasting.”
Q: Over 10% of revenue is donated to causes your customers care about, how does this work?
A: “Whenever a customer purchases a bag of our coffee with us at our cafe or on our website, they can choose one of 4 cause areas to support: youth-at-risk, environmental justice, criminal justice reform, or clean drinking water. Each quarter, we let the community nominate and vote to decide which specific charities get the funds.”
Q: What was it like growing up in Grand Rapids and now having a business in your hometown?
A: “This is super special! It’s been really great to bring a special community space to the neighborhood I grew up in and where we had our first home together.”
Q: I see you have a degree in electrical engineering, what brought you into the world of coffee?
A: “I have loved coffee since a young age. After finishing my degree and working in a few different industries, I decided that I wanted to start a company that really set an example for doing things right. There is so much opportunity for the coffee industry to have more ethical and sustainable business practices, and it really brings together the community.”
Q: Can you explain a little more about why you decided to apply an environmental tax to some of the products you use in the Last Mile Cafe?
A: “We decided when we opened to use oat milk by default for all of our milk-based drinks. Oat milk has a lower environmental footprint than cow’s milk, so we considered having it as our only option. Ultimately we wanted to have an inclusive experience for those that prefer it, but we decided to implement a 50-cent upcharge to go towards reducing environmental threats. This is just one way we felt we could authentically live our values.”
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring students wanting to start their own businesses?
A: “Use every resource available to you to get started, whether it is through your university or other local organizations. There are numerous places offering free help to develop business plans, financial projections, and HR tools.”
To learn more about the Last Mile Cafe visit the website today or visit in person at 1006 Hall Street Southeast
Grand Rapids, MI 49507