Coffee shop tips lead to community giving

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by Stephen Dafoe

iPhone or Android. Oilers or Flames. Star Wars or Star Trek. Country or Rock. All big decisions to make when ordering a coffee and deciding where to toss your coffee tip at Higher Grounds Espresso Bar.

But the playful little tip jar options have done more than put a smile on customer’s faces – they’ve put a smile on community groups and those in need.

Morinville’s not-for-profit, volunteer-run coffee shop pools their tips and uses that money to give back to the community.

From January to July of this year, Higher Grounds tips and profits have amounted to $3560 back into the community, a tally manager Liz Melvin was only too proud to show Morinville News last week.

“We just had the accountant look through our books and from January to July, we’ve donated about $3500 in cash or dollar value to the community,” Melvin said. “It’s exciting because we’ve seen our sales go up.

“Seeing the generosity of our community when they see we are not for profit, I’ve seen people give more in tips than the cost of the product.”

Melvin says she believes people love the idea of a venue being able to care for others. “I really see us as a facilitator of that,” she said. “The more that comes in, the more we can push out to the community, and the community trusts us to do that.”

So far this year, the coffee shop has helped fund the MCHS Sr. Girls Basketball trip, made donations to the Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation for their safe house, the Morinville Food Bank to help stock their shelves, and donated $600 in product vouchers to Morinville’s first responders. Additionally, they have helped individuals in need.

But it all starts at the double tip jar that gives customers a competition to build the tips up for community giving. Melvin said the choices are the work of fellow organizer Kim Mills who enjoys the friendly competion.

Melvin said giving back to the community is at the heart of what the shop does.

“The more generous we are, the happier we are. It is such a pleasure to see the community respond to that. They are happy to give,” she said.

The shop is currently sponsored by The Father’s House Church. Melvin said the coffee shop’s giving is in keeping with the church’s vision for the community.

Higher Grounds is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with extended hours Wednesday nights until 8 p.m.

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