Thursday, March 27, 2008
A Tale Of Two Coffee Shops… Yes, Squid knows, Squid knows, Ol’ Factory Café is so much more than a coffee shop. (Note to Morgan: Squid gets it.) But it may be nothing more than another Sand City warehouse unless it comes up with $70K by summer.
“Help Save The Ol’ Factory Café,” reads a dry-erase board near the cash register. “We need your help right now to stay in business. In return, you’ll become a FOOF (Friend of Ol’ Factory), get an annual discount card and say you saved a small business. We need to raise $9K by the end of March and $70K by summer.”
“I feel like a homeless person on the side of the street,” says owner Morgan Christopher, who chalks up Ol’ Factory’s financial straights to “small business woes,” and says a couple of the café’s early investors backed out. Add on a bad economy, increasing wholesale costs and the skyrocketing price of oil, and Squid’s tempted to give the nice baristas $20 for a coffee. It’s not easy being a (green) small business.
Christopher hung a for-sale sign last week. “People freaked out, and I freaked out, too,” he says. “They said, ‘Why don’t you ask for donations?’ ” He says he has raised about a quarter of the amount to make the month-end payment. “So we’re not out of the woods, and closing or selling is still very possible. Sad, but true. Sand City will certainly be home to many cafés in the future, I just hope that this first one will still be among them.”
Blowin’ In The Wind… As the nation enters its sixth year of war over oil – er, terrorism? – Squid’s sizable mind is blown by how quickly locals are moving to ban storm-drain-cloggin’, landfill-chokin’, ocean-litterin’ petro-trash. After much hullabaloo, on March 21 the Monterey Regional Waste Management District Board unanimously passed a draft regional polystyrene ban that would replace the notorious foam with recyclable and compostable take-out containers. (Squid hears green packaging purveyor Carolyn Swanson spoke so eloquently at the meeting, she may have swayed district board member and Sand City Mayor David Pendergrass, who initially seemed skeptical.) Expect more plastics debate at upcoming City Council meetings around the county. But with much less ado, the Old Monterey Business Association decided to banish petro-plastic bags and polystyrene at the Farmers’ Market on Alvarado, starting on Earth Day (April 22). Vendors will have to switch to biodegradable plastic or paper bags and food packaging, and customers will be encouraged to bring their own bags. Squid detected a bug-eyed, nervous excitement at the last market. As customers reached for plastic produce bags, vendors told them not to get used to it. Just one… more… hit…