Coffee for a cause

Brittany Moseley

“I can’t save the world, but I can save myself from conforming to it.”

“We like our coffee to taste like coffee,” Scribbles Coffee’s owner Rodney Wilson said. Every 12 oz. mocha has two shots of espresso so the drinks have a stronger coffee taste. Scribbles Coffee, located on North Water Street, has affordable coffee and oth

Credit: Ron Soltys

Scribbles Coffee Co.

237 N. Water St.

(330) 346-0337

These words are sprawled across the front of a gray T-shirt that hangs on a clothing rack in the backroom of Scribbles Coffee. In a world dominated by Starbucks, Seattle’s Best and Caribou Coffee, this shirt embodies everything Kent’s newest coffee shop stands for.

“We put a lot of ourselves into it,” said owner Rodney Wilson. “We don’t want to be Starbucks; that doesn’t reflect our personality.”

Scribbles opened Oct. 29, next to Turnup Records, away from downtown. Once inside, it’s obvious Scribbles isn’t your typical grab-and-go coffee shop.

“It’s a family, grassroots operation,” said William Teckmyer, a volunteer at Scribbles. “We’re here as part of the community.”

Scribbles is made up of two rooms, the first being the actual coffee shop. Art from Wilson’s friend hangs on the walls, and a mix of Christmas and indie music plays in the background. Customers sit sipping their mochas at dineresque tables .

The second room has mismatched chairs that offer people a place to sit down and read something from Scribbles collection of secondhand books. The room also features clothing designed by Wilson’s wife and business partner, Carla. Shirts With Sayings such as “Tree Hugger” and “I see bread people” hang beside children’s denim jumpers decorated with cupcakes and flowers. Besides books and quirky clothing, customers can also buy handmade greeting cards, handbags and placemats.

Scribbles stands out among other Kent coffee shops because all the coffee beans the shop uses are Fair Trade. This means the farmers who grew the beans received a living wage and decent working and living conditions. Fair Trade products are sold at a reasonable price, which allows farmers to sell their goods, cover their costs and support their families.

“The coffee industry is very well-known for not giving people enough to live on,” Wilson said. “When it’s Fair Trade, you know the person who picked it is making a living wage.”

Wilson said when Scribbles opened its first location in 2002 in Kentucky, they didn’t use Fair Trade products, but now, he couldn’t imagine using anything else.

“We became more aware of (the effect) our purchasing patterns had on the world,” he said.

Fair Trade is one thing that attracted Teckmyer to Scribbles.

“To be part of something that is not only concerned about what’s going on in the world, but actually doing something about it, it just feels right,” he said.

Those who grow the coffee that Scribbles offers are making more than Teckmyer or any of the other volunteers at the shop. Convincing people to work for free doesn’t sound easy, so Wilson did what most would: He asked his friends.

“I would love to have room in our budget to hire people,” Wilson said. He and his wife run the shop with the help of four of their friends. Right now, Wilson works 70 hours per week. He doesn’t mind though; he is around his friends and wife all day, and his 3-year-old daughter is a frequent visitor.

Teckmyer said volunteering at Scribbles is worth it because he enjoys the environment, and he likes feeling like a part of the community.

“I basically came in and said, ‘I will work for coffee,'” he said. “Plus the fact that we have free wireless is an obvious benefit.”

Even with the long hours and the obvious struggles of running his own business, Wilson said Scribbles is more satisfying than a regular nine-to-five job.

“We’ve been really lucky. It’s something we like to do,” Wilson said. “What constitutes our life is represented here.”

Contact all reporter Brittany Moseley at [email protected].