What draws a person to frequent a particular coffee shop? Is it the atmosphere? The staff? The coffee? Likely, any coffee shop patron will immediately list of one or more of these things when answering this question.
What many customers to Springfield’s own Un Mundo Café may fail to see (perhaps they’re distracted by the big, comfy chairs, the stained-glass windows, and a the bevy of food and coffee options) is another element: care. Care for its customers, its suppliers, its employees, and its community.
Un Mundo Café, which was founded half a decade ago as a not-for-profit coffee shop, is tucked away in a corner of the Heritage Center of Clark County, right in the middle of downtown Springfield.
On any given day, one can find an entirely random assortment of people at the coffee shop: businesspeople, college students, librarians, musicians. The atmosphere is calm and dark inside the shop, and faint indie-rock and acoustic music contributes to the quiet mood. Looking out Un Mundo’s window, its as if the streets of Springfield are in an entirely different world.
The striking thing about Un Mundo, however, is that none of this appears to be planned. As a non-profit organization (all proceeds from the coffee shop go to the Children’s Rescue Center, an umbrella for a number of charities in the Springfield area), the shop is not trying to sell a false identity to the customer in order to make a profit. Everything about Un Mundo is natural and organic.
“For Springfield, we’re trying to make a place for people to hang out that’s able to be done, people can afford, and people who don’t have anywhere else to come can come,” said Micah Bonsell, Un Mundo’s soft-spoken manager.
In addition to helping local charity, Un Mundo also supports farmers by buying fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolate. The coffee in the shop comes from all over the world, with the assurance that the beans were grown by people who were paid fair wages for their work.
Un Mundo has also begun to expand beyond its “coffee shop” duties, branching out to the Springfield community in other ways. The shop features local live music on weekends. Bonsell explains that folk singers are a good fit for the coffee shop.
“We try to stay away from anything too loud,” he said. Staffers also plan to host a monthly showcase for community artists and informational sessions about fair trade.
The most interesting thing about Bonsell and the rest of the Un Mundo team is that they seem generally happy with their shop and the charitable things it does, and appear driven to continue the success of Un Mundo. Run with just a few employees, the place keeps employees hopping. When Bonsell recently talked about his job with a visitor, he had to keep interrupting the interview to take customers’ orders. In fact, he was the only worker in the shop that day. Yet he always made sure to make it back to talk when he was available. This is the kind of devotion that Un Mundo demonstrated to Springfield: it does the best it can with what it can offer.
“[At Un Mundo] there’s a meaning and a purpose of fair trade and community,” said Bonsell about what drives him to keep Un Mundo going. “I get to talk to friends, some of them homeless, some of them businesspeople, and we all have something in common.”
(Kent Montgomery / firstname.lastname@example.org)