• 22
    May
    Posted in:
    This Detroit Coffee Shop is Helping a lot of People with Each Purchase

    Fair wages for Honduran farmers, work training for the impoverished, and jobs for the formerly incarcerated: AWAKE Café has set out to do a lot with their coffee and baked goods since opening in Midtown last March. Detroit Sign Factory was fortunate to work with them on their signage, and we wanted to share a bit of the inspiring story behind this Detroit coffee shop.

    How did AWAKE Café come to be?

    Behind AWAKE Café is a faith-based organization called Evangelical Faith Missions (EFM). They have their own urban ministries program that aims to help Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Detroit. The coffee shop they opened in our city was created as a center for outreach so EFM could more easily connect with students at Wayne State, especially those coming from overseas.

    Despite the religious affiliation of this Detroit coffee shop and its young demographic, AWAKE Café is excited to invite everyone in the community to stop by. Manager Tonweya Sherman told Model Media the following:

    “We’re owned by a mission, but this is a fully-functioning business where the customers don’t have to necessarily be part of the mission.”

    They opened their doors on March 22nd and have been serving patrons on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. AWAKE Café is also proud to open their café debt-free using donations they received. According to their website, opening a Detroit coffee shop could have called for loans as large as $450k, something they don’t have to worry about.

    Example of coffee at Detroit Coffee Shop

    Featured image by Michael Allen Smith via Flickr


    Creating Signs for a Detroit Coffee Shop

    As they were preparing to open, Detroit Sign Factory was asked to create signage for them. Over the door of their building we created dimensional letters spelling out the business name, and in order to show off their logo and slogan, we also created an aluminum sign to go next to their front door.

    Because this affordable aluminum sign excluded the business’ phone number, email address, and social media links, AWAKE can now take their time establishing these new methods of contact. Once they do, they could potentially add that information to their glass door with vinyl decals or etched glass, encouraging more people to support them as a Detroit coffee shop.


    What is their mission?

    On top of their goal of connecting more students with Christianity, AWAKE is setting out to serve several populations through their offerings; The Detroit coffee shop’s coffee, baked goods, and teas all come from other social outreach organizations.

    Their coffee is from Honduras where EFM has started their own farm. Their goal in doing so was to build relationships with workers and their families and to get a great single-origin coffee in the process. In running their farm, they get to control compensation, which for EFM means paying all their workers livable wages so their families can stay together.

    In the words of Eric Himelick, an Urban Ministry Director for EFM:

    “This is not just ‘fair trade coffee;’ this is relationally-sourced coffee.”

    Next on their menu are the baked goods they source from On The Rise Bakery, run by the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. This bakery on Gratiot has set out to employ people who have either recently been released from prison or who have completed substance abuse programs. By working for the bakery, these employees can start off on a new life path. Through the Capuchin organization, they have access to a range of programs, and by working with other people who have come from similar situations, the staff can easily lean on each other for support.

    Finally, their tea has a special purpose as well. It’s sourced from My Cup of Tea, a Memphis-based company that hires women who come from poverty and supports them with job-skill training courses. Between the coffee, baked goods, and tea, AWAKE Café has created a thoughtful menu where each purchase helps people in and outside Detroit live better lives.

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