William Dakin, Kent State University
Commitment to Community
Living in a small town in Village of Newcomerstown, Ohio with a population of about 3,500 people, everything I’ve ever known revolves around community engagement. It was a big step for me to travel to one of the largest cities in the United States, San Francisco.
Before the trip, I expected individuality, every man for himself. Because San Francisco is a large city, I thought business owners wouldn’t have the time or desire to help their community. Little did I know a majority of the businesses we visited (large and small) would work collaboratively with their local communities.
While in Napa Valley, we broke up into small teams to help two local coffee entrepreneurs. They were both heavily impacted by the pandemic and wanted to take different directions to grow their businesses. We helped by giving our advice as Millennials and Gen Zers about marketing, subscriptions, and other relevant information.
Being nominated as the team leader for the Coffee Challenge with Ohm Coffee Roasters gave me the opportunity to personally speak with Derek Bromley, Founder of Ohm Coffee Roasters. Derek has a great sense of community engagement, which is detrimental to his business as it is run out of a food truck.
One thing that stood out to me was Ohm Coffee Roasters serve their coffee twice a week at the Napa Valley Farmers Market. Growing up around the farmers market, I can attest that it is one of the pinnacles of community involvement in a local area. You have local community businesses selling their products/services to the locals where they can hang out and really connect with one another. That’s really important to me.
In the near future, Derek hopes Ohm will have a brick-and-mortar location in the form of a Coffee Roastery. It will serve as a traditional roastery while promoting community engagement. Derek is also a talented musician, his band, Mama Said, often performs in the Napa Valley area. The Coffee Roastery will allow many local musicians and bands to perform and host events. All the while, of course, being served Ohm Coffee.
Traveling from my heavily community-oriented Village of Newcomerstown, Ohio, I never once fathomed I would be able to find a similarly strong sense of community in a large city between businesses and their consumers.
The commitment to the community that I witnessed in multiple businesses we visited in the Bay Area is what set those businesses apart from others.