Learn about our COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan.

Give back with every sip!

When you sign up for Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards, you earn three reward points for every dollar you spend at any of our café locations. These points can be redeemed for discounts, OR you can choose to donate a portion directly to our Featured Charity. From July through September, our Featured Charity is South Portage Little League.

Established in 1957, South Portage Little League (SPLL) serves the Portage and surrounding communities with youth baseball and softball education and competitive game play. This volunteer-based organization has strong foundations in keeping youth athletics in our community. With scholarships available for players with demonstrated financial needs, their goal is that all Portage-area children should have an opportunity to play ball.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, South Portage Little League made the hard decision to cancel their regular season for 2020. With the lessening of restrictions, their hope is to provide free “sandlot” ball games in July and August for local youth (regardless of their previous involvement with SPLL). Those interested in participating are encouraged to follow them on Facebook for details.

Water Street is proud to support South Portage Little League and hopes you can help us in this effort.

Supporting charities throughout Kalamazoo county

Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards program began in 2018 and features a new charity each quarter. With the help of our customers, we’ve been able to support the important work being done in our community by the following non-profit organizations:

Bronson Children’s Hospital – $1,196
Can-Do Kitchen – $945
Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo – $1,329
Kalamazoo County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council (KCAN) – $1,037
West Michigan Cancer Center & Institute for Blood Disorders – $1,270
Big Brothers Big Sisters – $875
YWCA Kalamazoo – $452

Check out our Giving page to learn how your organization can apply to be considered as our next Loyalty Rewards Featured Charity.

Give back with every sip!

When you sign up for Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards, you earn three reward points for every dollar you spend at any of our café locations. These points can be redeemed for discounts, OR you can choose to donate a portion directly to our Featured Charity. From April through June, you helped raise $452 for YWCA Kalamazoo.

YWCA Kalamazoo is a nonprofit association affiliated with YWCA USA. Founded in 1885 to provide a safe residence for young working women, the organization is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

In the past years, through its focus on the mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, the YWCA has addressed disparities in our community through evidence-based and holistic programming.

Through direct service, outreach, and community education, the YWCA reaches over 7,500 women, children and families each year. In addition, the YWCA focuses on 1) providing services for victim of abuse (domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking), 2) providing high quality childcare for families, 3) advocating for race and gender equity through system change and 4) promoting maternal and child health to improve birth outcomes.

During the month of April, Water Street is participating in YWCA’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This month, we will help to spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, the “A Cup of Prevention” cup stickers. Water Street is proud to be an active part of helping to build more insight and conversation about many important issues and the related services available at the YWCA Kalamazoo.

Water Street is proud to support YWCA Kalamazoo and hopes you can help us in this effort.

Two Ways to Give

1) Donate your Loyalty Reward Points at a Water Street Café either in-person at a Drive-Thru or through our mobile order app.
2) You can also donate directly to YWCA Kalamazoo on their website here: ywcakalamazoo.org/donate

Supporting charities throughout Kalamazoo county

Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards program began in 2018 and features a new charity each quarter. With the help of our customers, we’ve been able to support the important work being done in our community by the following non-profit organizations:

Bronson Children’s Hospital – $1,196
Can-Do Kitchen – $945
Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo – $1,329
Kalamazoo County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council (KCAN) – $1,037
West Michigan Cancer Center & Institute for Blood Disorders – $1,270
Big Brothers Big Sisters – $875

Check out our Giving page to learn how your organization can apply to be considered as our next Loyalty Rewards Featured Charity.

As we continue to stay vigilante in our approach to re-open safely and in accordance to local, state and federal guidelines, please see the following updates as they pertain to our cafés, kitchen, roaster and administrative facilities. To learn more about changes to café hours, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or visit our café page.

 

 

Date: July 2, 2020. 6:00am EST

Effective Thursday, July 2 – According to Executive Order No. 2020-143, alcoholic beverages ordered at our Downtown, Oakland and Portage locations will be delivered via table service.


Date: June 8, 2020. 6:00am EST

Effective Monday, June 8 – All Water Street Cafés officially re-open to the public! According to local government guidelines, we have implemented many safety precautions, including limiting our building capacities by 50%. Please read additional safety measures below.

COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan

Introduction
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It has spread from China to many other countries around the world, including the United States. Depending on the severity of COVID-19’s international impacts, outbreak conditions—including those rising to the level of a pandemic—can affect all aspects of daily life, including travel, trade, tourism, food supplies, and financial markets.

To reduce the impact of COVID-19 outbreak conditions on businesses, workers, customers, and the public, it is important for all employers to plan now for COVID-19.

About COVID-19
Symptoms of COVID-19 Infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can cause illness ranging from mild to severe and, in some cases, can be fatal. Symptoms typically include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Some people infected with the virus have reported experiencing other non-respiratory symptoms. Other people, referred to as asymptomatic cases, have experienced no symptoms at all. According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

How COVID-19 Spreads
Although the first human cases of COVID-19 likely resulted from exposure to infected animals, infected people can spread SARS-CoV-2 to other people. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to-person, including:

■ Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
■ Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has SARS-CoV-2 on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the primary way the virus spreads. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (i.e., experiencing fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this type of asymptomatic transmission with this new coronavirus, but this is also not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

With this knowledge in hand Water Street Coffee Joint is committed to providing a safe workplace and a safe place for customers to enjoy high quality food and beverage. As we prepare to re-welcome the public into our spaces here are the precautions and measures we are implementing to keep everyone safe.

Infection Prevention Measures

Prescreening
Employees. Every employee must complete a pre-shift screening and self report any COVID-19 symptoms, out of area travel, or potential exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 patient. In the event of an affirmative response to any of the pre-screening questions, the employee will not be allowed to begin work. To return to work they must be fever free for 72 hours without use of medicine that reduces fever, other symptoms have improved (for example, when cough and shortness of breath have improved) and at least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Vendors. All vendors must respond to a pre-screening health questionnaire before gaining access to facilities. In the event of an affirmative response, vendors are to contact Water Street Coffee by phone to make alternative arrangements.

Customers. All customers are required to review a pre-screening questionnaire. In the event of an affirmative response, they are not to access the building. Orders should be placed remotely and arrangements made for contactless home delivery.

Hand Washing
Employees. All employees have been trained on proper hand washing protocol. They wash their hands at the start of each shift, after using the restroom, and after contact with any high volume touch points. They commit to washing their hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and single use paper towels are provided and fully stocked at all hand washing stations.

Vendors. Vendors are given access to our fully stocked hand washing stations. They are to wash their hands upon arrival and after any contact with high touch points.

Customers. Customers have access to fully stocked hand washing sinks in our restrooms.

Cleaning
Employees. Will continue all our health department recommended cleaning protocols, but with increased frequency and thoroughness. All contact surfaces are disinfected every 15 minutes. Sanitizer buckets are changed after every complete contact surface disinfection. Our quat sanitizer for dishes and bleach water preparations are approved by the CDC for this use. Staff are disinfecting high-touch places like doorknobs, countertops, light switches, steering wheels, coffee scoops, refrigerator handles, portafilters, coffee brewing equipment, credit card swipers, telephones, chairs, tables and the like every 15 minutes or more frequently if necessary.

Personal Protective Equipment
Employees. In accordance with executive order, all of our staff are provided with face masks and are required to wear them while at work. They have been instructed on proper wearing and washing protocols. Staff are also provided access to single use gloves and are required to wear them when handling high touch items.

Vendors. All vendors are required to wear masks when entering a Water Street Coffee facility.

Customers. All customers are required to wear masks when entering a Water Street Coffee facility or utilizing our patio areas. Masks may be removed when the customer is seated and dining, but must be replaced upon departure or any trip away from their seat including using the restroom.

Social Distancing
Employees. Employees have been trained on social distancing and maintain six feet of separation wherever possible.

Vendors. Must maintain six feet of separation whenever possible.

Customers. Customers are required to adhere to social distancing practices, by reading and adhering to in shop signage and social distancing floor markings. Tables and chairs have been marked and spaced to allow for 6+ feet of social distancing. In cafe capacity is currently capped at 50%. Our temporary capacities are posted and customers must abide by the capacity limits.

Additional reduced contact points

Plexi-glass safety shields. These barriers are installed at all in store point of sale areas to reduce contact at the time of check out protecting employees and customers.
Contactless payment. We request that customers use contactless payment methods whenever possible. Placing orders in the Water Street Coffee Joint app, online or over the phone are preferred. Apple pay is also available.
Condiments and silverware. Water Street Coffee Joint employees will dispense condiments for customers to reduce touch points and condiment island congregation.
Travel mugs. We will continue to serve all beverages in our dishware or to-go cups.
Menus. We have eliminated re-usable menus. Please consult large scale in-store postings or review the menu online or through the app.
Optional Signatures. In the instance that we need to deliver coffee or respond to a service call, signatures on service forms or receipts will be optional.

Designated Compliance Coordinator
Each shift has a designated COVID-19 Compliance Coordinator. They are responsible for ensuring compliance with all actions described in this Preparedness and Response plan during the shift. They are also responsible for monitoring daily operations and appropriately escalating any safety issues to management.

Customers that notice any safety issues or areas for improvement may speak with the on-shift Compliance Coordinator. If they would like to submit concerns remotely they may do so by email operations@waterstreetcoffee.com or calling the business office at 269-488-7178.

Remote work and travel
With the exception of essential frontline staff, all employees able to work remotely should continue to do so. All Water Street Coffee related travel is on hold indefinitely; this includes airline travel, as well as interstate and non-essential local travel. Water Street local deliveries will occur as regularly scheduled, with delivery drivers and maintenance technicians executing all required hand washing and sanitizing protocols.

Reporting COVID-19
Water Street Coffee Joint is committed to the safety of our employees and customers. If someone entering our facility poses a threat to the health and safety of others in the building we will require them to leave.

Employees are required to immediately call the Manager On Call if a positive COVID case enters any Water Street Coffee facility. Within 24 hours Water Street Coffee Joint will notify: (1) The local public health department, and (2) Any co-workers, contractors, suppliers, or customers, to the best of our ability, who may have come into contact with the person with a confirmed case of COVID-19, while maintaining confidentiality/anonymity of the infected person whenever possible.

A positive case will result in the immediate closure of the facility and a thorough cleaning in compliance with FDA and CDC recommendations.

Plan Updates and Expiration
This Plan responds to the COVID-19 outbreak. As this pandemic progresses, Water Street Coffee Joint will update this Plan and its corresponding processes.

This Plan will expire upon conclusion of its need, as determined by Water Street Coffee Joint and in accordance with guidance from local, state, and federal health officials.


Date: May 26, 2020. 7:00am EST

Our Borgess Café officially re-opens! Plus, our Oakland Café will now open at 6am Monday – Friday. See our Borgess Café hours below. For individual café hours, click here.

Borgess Café
Monday – Friday: 7am – 2pm
Saturday – Sunday: 7:30am – 2pm


Date: May 14, 2020. 8:00am EST

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have noticed delays in shipping from our carrier services over the past couple of weeks. Our Water Street Coffee production team works diligently to ensure customer orders are prepared and shipped in a timely manner. If you have questions regarding tracking information of your items, please contact our production department at (269) 488-2802 or via email at orders@waterstreetcoffee.com.


Date: May 11, 2020. 8:00am EST

Effective today we are extending our café hours! Our Portage and Oakland locations will be open until 6pm daily. And our Sprinkle Rd Drive-Thru will be open until 5pm daily. Full café hours are below.

Oakland Café (online or phone order pick-up only)
Monday – Sunday: 7:00am – 6:00pm

Portage Drive-Thru
Monday – Friday: 6:30am – 6:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 7:00am – 6:00pm

Sprinkle Rd Drive-Thru
Monday – Saturday: 6:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday: 7:00am – 5:00pm

Downtown Café (online or phone order pick-up only)
Monday – Saturday: 7:30am – 5:00pm
Sunday: 8:00am – 5:00pm

Borgess Café
closed


Date: May 10, 2020. 8:00am EST

Our Portage Café will now have a table on the patio near the front door available for customers to walk to pick up their items. Choose “patio” at checkout on our mobile app and call us when you arrive.


Date: April 20, 2020. 7:30am EST

Water Street Coffee Joint Downtown has re-opened with the following hours:
Monday – Saturday: 7:30am – 5pm
Sunday: 8am – 5pm.


Date: March 22, 2020. 12:00pm EST

Effective Sunday, March 22 – Water Street Coffee Joint Downtown will be closed indefinitely.

Effective Sunday, March 22 at 12:00pm – Water Street Coffee Joint Borgess will be closed indefinitely.

Effective Monday, March 23 – Water Street Coffee Joint Portage will transition to Drive Thru Only.

Effective Monday, March 23 – Water Street Coffee Joint Oakland and Portage will no longer be serving take out beer and wine.


Date: March 18, 2020. 4:00pm EST

No Water Street employee is required to work at this time. Water Street Coffee is operating in compliance with all federal and state mandates related to COVID-19. We are open at this time for employees that want to and/or need to work.


Date: March 16, 2020. 2:30pm EST

Café Hours

Effective Monday, March 16 all coffee shops will close at 5pm everyday. For individual café hours, click here.

Effective Monday, March 16 at 3pm all coffee shops will close their dining areas and will be take-out orders only. In compliance with a statewide order, customers will not be allowed to dine in.

Action Water Street Coffee is Taking:

1) All employees are washing hands frequently.
2) Disinfecting counters, tables and high-traffic surfaces with the appropriate sanitizing solution.
3) Monitoring personal health.
4) Temporarily not accepting customer-owned mugs. We will, however, still honor the travel mug discount.
5) Access to cream, sugar and other coffee condiments has been removed. Our baristas will individually add by request.
6) Training classes, all-staff meetings, roaster tours, food tastings and the like are all postponed indefinitely.
7) All staff that are capable of working remotely will do so.
8) All wholesale coffee calibrations and non-essential maintenance are postponed indefinitely.
9) All Water Street Coffee related travel is on hold indefinitely; this includes airline travel, as well as interstate and non-essential local travel. Water Street local deliveries will occur as regularly scheduled, with delivery drivers executing all required hand washing and sanitizing protocols.

How Can You Help Stay Healthy?

1) Wash your hands frequently.
2) Stay home if you are sick.
3) Cover coughs and sneezes.

Ways You Can Purchase Goods:

1) TAKE-OUT
2) Use low-contact payments, like Apple Pay.
3) Use our ORDERING APP to order and pay ahead for pick-up.
For DESKTOP, click here.
For MOBILE, download from App Store or Google Play.
4) Order bagged coffee through our online Coffee Subscription and have it shipped to your home.
5) Purchase gift cards for use at a later time.
6) Visit Drive-Thru’s at the following locations:
PORTAGE DRIVE-THRU: 245 W. Centre Ave. | ph: (269) 271-1900
SPRINKLE RD DRIVE-THRU: 2603 S. Sprinkle Rd. | ph: (269) 532-5325

ALCOHOL PURCHASES AT PARTICIPATING CAFES:
With the exception of sealed wine and beer to take away, all alcohol sales will cease during this time.

As we lock arms with our baristas, roaster staff, kitchen workers and administrative team to navigate the unknown weeks ahead, we ask for your partnership with Water Street and other local small businesses to support them how you can.

Thank you for your support!

Sincerely,

Water Street Coffee

Give back with every sip!

When you sign up for Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards, you earn three reward points for every dollar you spend at any of our café locations. These points can be redeemed for discounts, OR you can choose to donate directly to our Featured Charity. From January through March 2020, you helped raise $875 for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

In 1958, representatives from the Kalamazoo Junior Chamber of Commerce and Kalamazoo Public Schools founded Big Brothers of Greater Kalamazoo. In the mid-70s they added services for girls and became Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). Since then, they have grown to become the largest BBBS in Michigan, providing children, ages 6-18, one-to-one mentoring in Kalamazoo, Allegan, Calhoun, and Van Buren counties.

Big Brothers Big Sisters provides mentoring services to over 800 children every year. Whether it’s playing sports together, going on a hike, reading books, grabbing a slice of pizza or simply giving advice and inspiration, the goal of Big Brothers Big Sisters is to empower children to achieve their full potential. The BBBS staff also work with volunteers to provide ongoing training and support to promote longevity and to ensure child safety.

After just one year with a mentor, 98% of children report increased self-confidence, perform better in school and 100% of children intend to graduate high school.

At the annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake event, taking place February and March across Kalamazoo, Allegan, Calhoun and Van Buren Counties, bowlers (serious and less serious) raise funds and join the BBBS team for a bowling party to celebrate their successful fundraising for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Learn more here.

Water Street is proud to support Big Brothers Big Sisters and hopes you can help us in this effort.

Supporting charities throughout Kalamazoo county

Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards program began in 2018 and features a new charity each quarter. With the help of our customers, we’ve been able to support the important work being done in our community by the following non-profit organizations:

Bronson Children’s Hospital – $1,196
Can-Do Kitchen – $945
Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo – $1,329
Kalamazoo County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council (KCAN) – $1,037
West Michigan Cancer Center & Institute for Blood Disorders – $1,270

Check out our Giving page to learn how your organization can apply to be considered as our next Loyalty Rewards Featured Charity.

 

Give back with every sip!

When you sign up for Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards, you earn three reward points for every dollar you spend at any of our café locations. These points can be redeemed for discounts, OR you can choose to donate a portion directly to our Featured Charity. With your help, we raised $1,270 for West Michigan Cancer Center & Institute for Blood Disorders.

In 1994, Borgess Health Alliance and Bronson Healthcare Group opened the doors of West Michigan Cancer Center & Institute for Blood Disorders (WMCC). This fulfilled the hospitals’ joint vision to provide a cutting edge treatment facility for the community. The new center immediately made a positive difference in the health and lives of area residents and the collaboration ensured that the best treatment capabilities.

“Our vision,” says Anne Witherspoon, Developmental Director, “is to deliver exceptional, comprehensive and integrated care to patients throughout the region.” On average, WMCC sees 4,000 new patients each year. In addition, approximately 500 patients walk through the doors of the downtown Kalamazoo facility every day.

In the 25th year of service, WMCC has gone through many advancements to provide the best possible cancer and hematology care to the patients in this community. Currently, more than 90% of individuals diagnosed with cancer in the region receive their treatment at WMCC.

This summer, WMCC partnered with the Kalamazoo Growlers to have a “Strike Out Cancer Night” where thousands of their patients were treated to a free night at the ballpark. WMCC and the Growlers anticipate holding this event again in 2020.

Water Street is proud to support West Michigan Cancer Center & Institute for Blood Disorders and hopes you can help us in this effort.

Supporting charities throughout Kalamazoo county

Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards program began in 2018 and features a new charity each quarter. With the help of our customers, we’ve been able to support the important work being done in our community by the following non-profit organizations:

Bronson Children’s Hospital – $1,196
Can-Do Kitchen – $945
Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo – $1,329
Kalamazoo County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council (KCAN) – $1,037

Check out our Giving page to learn how your organization can apply to be considered as our next Loyalty Rewards Featured Charity.

Give back with every sip!

When you sign up for Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards, you earn three reward points for every dollar you spend at any of our café locations. These points can be redeemed for discounts, OR you can choose to donate a portion directly to our Featured Charity. With your help, we raised $1,037 for Kalamazoo County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council (KCAN).

Kalamazoo County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council (KCAN) started in March 1976 by volunteers from the Service Club (now Junior League of Kalamazoo). The council was formed in response to the concern of many agencies within the county about the issues of child abuse and neglect. Their mission is “to educate and advocate for the prevention of child abuse and neglect and prevent child abuse before it happens.”

KCAN provides a variety of community and educational programs, including sexual abuse prevention programs for young children and specialized training to teach professionals who work with children how to identify and report child abuse and neglect. Other programs include public awareness campaigns, special events/outreach activities and partnering with local and state government officials to advocate for child safety policies and more.

Every year, KCAN invites people and businesses interested in child safety to their largest annual fundraiser, the Super Hero 5k Fun Run/Walk. This event is fun for avid runners and casual walkers! Plus, 100% of the proceeds stay in Kalamazoo County to help educate children and mandated reporters on helping keep kids safe.

Water Street is extremely happy to support the amazing work of KCAN. Our hope is that you can join us in supporting this effort.

Supporting charities throughout Kalamazoo county

Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards program began in 2018 and features a new charity each quarter. With the help of our customers, we’ve been able to support the important work being done in our community by the following non-profit organizations:

Bronson Children’s Hospital – $1,196
Can-Do Kitchen – $945
Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo – $1,329

Check out our Giving page to learn how your organization can apply to be considered as our next Loyalty Rewards Featured Charity.

 

 

 

Giving back with every sip!

Loyalty Rewards Support Girls on the Run. When you sign up for Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards, you earn three reward points for every dollar you spend at any of our Café locations. These points can be redeemed for discounts, OR you can choose to donate a portion directly to our Featured Charity. With your help, we raised $1,329 for Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo.

Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo

Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo is an independent council of Girls on the Run International. It was founded in 1996 by Molly Barker a visionary and Ironman triathlete. Their mission is “to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.” Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo (GOTRGK) was founded in 2001 by Kalamazoo community leaders committed to the health and well-being of our area’s youth.

“In our 17 years, Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo has served more than 30,000 girls thanks to the generosity of donors and sponsors like Water Street Coffee,” shared Melisa Beeson, Executive Director of Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo.

GOTRGK has grown from serving 350 girls in 2002, to more than 1,400 in 2018. For their upcoming 17th season, the program for girls in 3rd through 5th grades will be offered at more than 50 schools and community organizations with a presence in the greater Kalamazoo County area. They remain one of the largest councils of over 220 Girls on the Run councils in the country.

Melisa added, “Girls continued to face social pressures and conflicting messages about how they should act and who they should be. Studies show that by adolescence, girls’ confidence drops about twice as much as boys’. At Girls on the Run we inspire girls to recognize their inner strength and celebrate what makes them one of a kind through our research-based curricula.”

Water Street is extremely happy to support the amazing work of Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo and hopes you can help us in this effort.

Supporting charities throughout Kalamazoo county

Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards program began in 2018. It features a new charity each quarter. With the help of our customers, we’ve been able to support the important work being done in our community by the following non-profit organizations:

Check out our Giving page to learn how your organization can apply to be considered as our next Loyalty Rewards Featured Charity. 

 

Sitting down for a coffee, you can almost feel the presence of those who’ve passed through Water Street over the years. Every subtle ding, scratch or scuff mark adds to the patina of the furniture and holds its own story. Working with our old friend and Master Woodworker Rob Chamberlin, newly-crafted furniture in the salon at our Oakland Café is now ready for a whole new era of stories.

Decades in the making

While the furniture only took a few months to design and build, the story began many years ago when our paths crossed with Rob. In 1993, we opened our original Coffee Joint at the intersection of Water Street and East Kalamazoo Avenue, and that part of town was quickly becoming an epicenter for commerce. Rob was often drawn to this part of town and shared, “Energetically, there’s something really special about this little part of town.” Many mornings he found himself meeting up with coworkers for a coffee before heading off to a job, and over the years he made a network of lifelong friends while visiting Water Street.

Fast forward a decade or two, and Rob was sharing shop space in the building behind our downtown location with local carpentry and bluegrass legends Rock Bartley and Scott Spink. While it created great synergy for working together, he found himself needing a place to call his own. After eyeing a vacant spot in the same building that was connected to his current space, he decided to pack up his tools and set up shop next door to his friends.

Rob’s new home was in the very same location where Water Street first started roasting coffee. Many remnants from the early days could still be found in the space. The color scheme on the walls matched that of our cafés, and you could even see the patched-up hole in the wall where the smokestack for the roaster once vented. Today, if you glance at Rob’s workbench, you’ll find an aged photo of Mark Smutek, our owner and president, roasting coffee right where the bench now sits.

It’s all in the details

With all of the shared history, there was no lack of inspiration while crafting the furniture for our Oakland Café salon. Rob had made the nesting stool tables for our Portage Café and the conference table that lives at our Roasting Facility. While there is a cohesion that emanates across all of our locations, each has its own distinct identity; and it was important to reflect this in the furniture. Working closely with our Creative Director Kirsten Field, who has been with Water Street throughout much of our journey, Rob and his Collaborator Kate Wilke thought through every detail of the furniture.

The wood they chose was ash. It has many characteristics that not only make it aesthetically pleasing, but also a good sturdy wood for constructing furniture. It’s lighter color complemented the room and would help to brighten things up. Ash was also an eco-friendly choice, as the market is flooded with the wood right now. Even more, using it in the furniture was doing our small piece to preserve the wood. With ash trees being decimated by the emerald ash borer, it’s likely these trees won’t be around for future generations.

Just like roasting brings out the character in a coffee bean, the proper finish can bring out the character of the wood. A plant-based oil and wax sealer from the German company Osmo was used to finish the wood, giving it a pleasant feel and appearance. Using a similar process that was common 100 years ago, it is not only environmentally conscious, but also food safe and easy to renew.

Determining the design of the furniture involved just as much thought. Rob commented on the process, “It’s not just how things are made, but I like to think about why we are making these things. What’s the purpose?” The end result was a simple and sturdy, yet stylish design that fit the flow of the room. Exposed joinery yielded an honest, durable look, with a softened slope to the arm for resting comfort. While the wood provides the base, we can’t overlook the upholstery. After all, what’s a good chair without a good cushion? Our friends at Vanderberg Upholstery, who we’ve worked with for many years, helped make cushions that were both comfortable and durable for standing up to the riggers of a coffee shop.

The end result is loungey, while still allowing for people to be able to eat, drink, work, and socialize comfortably. Rob shared, “At the end of the day, I think of it this way. Everything that I do, I try to make sure that it creates joy.” We couldn’t agree more and hope that the new addition to our Oakland salon brings joy to many, along with countless new stories.

We’ve enlisted the help of our loyal customers to help support local charities, providing non-profits with an outlet to raise money and spread awareness for their cause. With every dollar a Water Street Loyalty Reward member spends, they earn points that they can redeem for discounts or donate directly to our featured non-profit.

The program was introduced in 2018 and with the help of our customers we raised $1,196 for Bronson Children’s Hospital. To give a variety of non-profits the opportunity to participate, we’ll be featuring a new charity each quarter, for a total of four each year. The current featured charity for the first quarter of 2019 is Can-Do Kitchen, a local food business incubator who helps food entrepreneurs through the struggles of starting a new business.

“Our Loyalty Rewards is more than just a discount program. It’s an opportunity for us to partner with our loyal customers to give back to our community,” says owner Mark Smutek.

Water Street still has three featured spots to fill for 2019 and is currently accepting applications from non-profit organizations located in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. Applications will be evaluated on overall impact within the community. The program is not open to organizations who have exclusive membership, including athletic teams, religious institutions and political parties. To be considered, an official representative of your organization must complete the application on our Giving page by no later than February 28, 2019.

Give back a little with every sip!

When you sign up for our Water Street Loyalty Rewards, you earn three rewards points for every dollar you spend at any of our Café locations. These points can be redeemed for discounts, OR you can choose to donate a portion directly to our quarterly Featured Charity. With your help, we raised $945 for Can-Do Kitchen, our first Featured Charity of 2019.

Can-Do Kitchen helps food entrepreneurs on their journey

When Water Street opened in 1993, our owner, Mark Smutek, was the only employee for months. He did everything himself and learned along the way. He knows the daily struggles and triumphs of being an entrepreneur in the food industry.

Can-Do Kitchen is supporting many new food entrepreneurs through these struggles and helping to take some of the stress out of the process of starting a new business. Since 2008, they have been providing commercial kitchen space, food business incubation and workshops to entrepreneurs.

“We’re here to collaborate with food entrepreneurs in creating businesses that will have long-lasting positive impacts on families and the community overall,” shared Lucy Dilley, Executive Director of Can-Do Kitchen.

Can-Do helps layout a roadmap and supports entrepreneurs in developing reasonable goals. With their understanding of the regulations entrepreneurs will face, they are there to provide support along the way. Can-Do Camp, startup support meetings, resource guides, connections in the industry, food safety guidance – this is how they support food entrepreneurs in our community.

Lucy added, “Our commercial kitchen and our incubation services go hand-in-hand when it comes to supporting food businesses.”

Water Street is extremely happy to support the amazing work of Can-Do Kitchen and hopes you can help us in this effort.

Supporting charities throughout the Kalamazoo county area

The program began in 2018 and with the help of our customers we were able to raise $1,196 to donate to Bronson Children’s Hospital. Check out our Giving page to learn how your organization can apply to be considered as our next Loyalty Rewards recipient.