Carley Kammerer and Ben Griswold will bring Gutter Punk Coffee to the Whittier Farmers Market in June. Minneapolis small businesses at it again for our homeless youth. So fantastic.
Carley Kammerer’s parents owned a coffee shop in suburban Milwaukee. So growing up, a diluted mocha was her version of fancy chocolate milk, and she’s always wanted a shop of her own. But her business model is more than a coffeehouse.
Kammerer works as a social worker, and she’s seen homeless youth struggle to keep a job.
“They can get jobs really easily, but keeping them is really hard,” she said. “They can get fired really quickly.”
By offering jobs to homeless youth at Gutter Punk Coffee, Kammerer wants to teach basic job skills that can be challenging for youth on the street — calling in absences, resolving conflicts, keeping a schedule and emphasizing punctuality.
An independent living skills curriculum would cover the basics of laundry, groceries and budgeting. And youth would connect to workers in their fields of interest, so they have bigger prospects after the coffee gig ends.
“This is a place where youth can work for a year in an environment that understands where they’re coming from,” Kammerer said.
She met business partner Ben Griswold when a friend invited him to one of the monthly community nights she hosts at her house. As a fellow coffee snob, Powderhorn neighbor, home roaster and financial analyst, Griswold became an ideal business partner.
He was also interested in the business’s social justice angle, having launched a public awareness organization related to human trafficking in college.
“She was looking for someone to help carry the load and help make it happen,” he said.
They plan to rent time at local roasters like Corner Coffee or Bootstrap Coffee Roasters, using fair-trade organic beans from Cafe Imports.
“We’re excited to offer people the opportunity to not only taste amazing coffee, but put hard-earned money to a greater cause,” Griswold said.