After losing its first home, the addition of the Beneficial Beans & Boutique pop up will give the downtown area a shop for a cause.
Beneficial Beans, an enterprise branched from the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), is a cafe that aims to provide internships for SARRC clients, raise awareness about autism spectrum disorder and generate revenue for adults with autism through their full espresso menu and pastries.
SARRC opened their Beneficial Beans downtown location in March in the Burton Barr Library. It quickly lost its home when the library flooded in June. There new location, at 1027 E Washington St, has brought the service back.
CO+HOOTS, a Phoenix co-working space for local businesses and entrepreneurs, was using their Washington space for a coffee shop after moving to their new midtown location.
The coffee shop left and they were left with an empty space so the two partnered to open the shop.
“It was kind of odd how everything fell into place. It’s the story of collaboration, two groups coming together to help each other and better community,” Justine Sponder, CO+HOOTS community manager, said.
In order to garner more attention to the shop and stick by the company’s socially conscious values, Jenny Poon, founder of CO+HOOTS, had the idea to add a boutique to the shop by bringing in local businesses.
“We want to give back to the community, not just the one inside our doors but the greater Phoenix community,” Sponder said.
Vendors featured inside the boutique include Organic With Love, Upcycled by Zulema, Eeko Studio, Grey Design, Redemption Market, Global Guarding Project, Fresh Words Market, Spectrum Inspired, the Girls Rule Foundation and the CO+HOOTS Foundation.
Every vendor has a social cause that their products’ revenue go to support, including leadership for girls, water preservation, sustainability, youth entrepreneurs, youth in need, upcycling, survivors of trafficking and adults with autism.
The products of the boutique range from handmade soaps to blankets, from bags to jewelry, and from home decor to postcards.
Sponder suggests to shop for Christmas gifts in the boutique while getting a coffee from Beneficial Beans.
“You’ll find something they’ll love, but you’ll also get to tell that person that it gave back to this cause,” Sponder said.
Rhonda LaBatt, founder of Redemption Market, is one of the entrepreneurs involved at the boutique focused on survivors of trafficking.
LaBatt typically sells her product online or the Phoenix Public Market, so being a part of the boutique is a change for her.
“It’s always hard to start something new, but if [awareness] is the only thing that comes out of this then it’s good because then more people will be aware of Beneficial Beans and the different vendors,” LaBatt said.
Tracee McElvogue follows Beneficial Beans on social media, heard about the shop and decided to check it out their grand opening on Nov. 3.
“I like the idea of these people with small businesses having the opportunity to sell their products, and it’s all like minded,” said McElvogue. “It’s got a positive impact on society.”
Playing into the popular First Friday culture of downtown, the shop will have later hours on every first Friday of the month filled with live music and activities.
“Its an ongoing adventure. If we think of something over the next couple of months, we’ll implement it,” Sponder said.
The shop is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday until February before the library opens back up in June.
“There are some stores that give 10 percent back, but here every single thing you buy has an impact,” Sponder said.
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