WALLBURG | Hope Coffee Co. in Wallburg has all the allure of most coffee shops — the aroma of java beans fills the air, the recognizable whirling sound of blenders mixing frappes and a case full of enticing baked goods.
What you won’t see at the coffee shop that other coffee shops have are prices. Customers pay what they can. That might be a $1,000 donation (yes, that has happened), or nothing at all. Hope Coffee Co., Davidson County’s newest coffee shop located inside Hope City Church at 758 Motsinger Road in Wallburg is not a traditional business, although it is in the business of helping those in need, particularly those in need of a meal.
Profits from the coffee shop are used to provide free meals to people in the community.
“After we pay the bills, we can go out in the community and give meals away for free,” said Charles Myers, the manager of Hope Coffee Co. and a member of the church. “We provide for free the same meals you would buy on our food truck.” More about that food truck in a bit.
The coffee shop menu features coffee from Fortuna in Greensboro that Myers or other baristas turn into lattes, espressos, cappuccinos, iced coffees, frappes and more. The most popular coffee drink is a Dirty Chai Latte, which includes espresso. Hot and cold brew teas are also available, along with ice cream from Homeland Creamery.
Baked goods, such as cinnamon rolls, croissants and muffins fill a case near the register.
Hope Coffee Co. is not the church’s first charitable enterprise with the mission of filling hearts and stomachs. Hope City Church opened Hope Food Co., a $250,000 food truck donated to the church by a Massachusetts family, about two years ago with the same pay what you can concept. The food truck serves every Thursday from 5-7:30 p.m. on its patio in front of the church its hamburgers, loaded nachos, brats, chicken tenders and more.
The church will also take the food truck to festivals, local businesses, such as Old Dominion Freight in Thomasville, and serve lunch or dinner with the pay what you can concept. Profits mean free meals they serve monthly to people in East and West End High Point, Hickory, Davidson County and other communities with high poverty rates.
The church members never cold calls businesses or organizations to ask if they can set up to sell food, said Myers. Instead they have depended on word of mouth and stay very busy.
The concept is working. So far, Hope City Church has given out more than 10,403 free meals. Myers also pointed out they give away for free the same food and meals they serve at pay what you can events at local businesses, festivals and the weekly Thursday meal events at the church.
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Before the 35,000 square foot church was built on Motsinger Road in September 2011, the minister and groundskeeper used to serve meals to those in need from their cars. Knowing they wanted a feeding ministry as part of the church, it was built with about one-quarter of the building dedicated to being a commercial kitchen.
“This is a ministry that provides hope to not only to the people who come in to get a coffee but to those who we send out meals through the food truck,” Myers said.
The church became dedicated to feeding those in need, Myers said, when Pastor Scott Newton read in an article that a Gallop Poll completed in 2014 showed that North Carolina was eighth of the 50 states in food insecurity.
Prior to becoming the manager of Hope Coffee Co., Myers was a school teacher for 13 years in Davidson County and High Point area schools. He saw first-hand with some of his students the effects of food insecurity.
Crystal Roy has become a regular, stopping by several days a week to get coffee as she heads to work. She used to frequent other coffee shops but loves the idea that her love of coffee is helping others.
“I’m a big coffee drinker,” she said, “so I might as well come here to get it, and it’s great coffee.”
Myers began making his own lavender syrup for the lavender lattes. He said the commercial lavender product they were purchasing had a chemical aftertaste so he began playing around with it until he mastered the taste he wanted. He is working on a pumpkin spice flavoring to use this fall for the coffees.
A goal in the future is to have a second mobile food truck or a coffee trailer, or open a brick-and-mortar restaurant that also uses the pay what you can concept.
Hope Coffee Co. is open 6 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and reopens 5-9 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays. The coffee shop is open 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. You can follow Hope Coffee Co. on Instagram and Facebook.
– Jill Doss-Raines is The Dispatch trending topics and personality profiles senior reporter and is always looking for tips about businesses and entertainment events, secret and new menu items, and interesting people in Davidson County. Contact me at jill.doss-[email protected] and subscribe to us at the-dispatch.com.