Land of a Thousand Hills: Coffee with a cause
When Belinda Stump and her husband Dana were living together at Moffitt Cancer Center for a year, she wished she had a place to escape to every now and then for coffee and conversation with her daughter and daughter-in-law. The three women often improvised by grabbing coffee from the Moffitt cafeteria and sitting on a hillside together.
Before she lost her husband, Stump, now 58, talked with him about opening a nonprofit coffee shop with a mission. After he passed, she looked at several nonprofits before settling on the Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Compant.
“She found Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Co. and she just kind of let that brew like a cup of coffee inside her soul,” said Julie Taylor, the West Bradenton coffee shop’s general manager. The idea and plans for the shop at 1822 59th St. W. formed over two years and the cafe quietly opened to the community on May 11.
They’ll host a grand opening on June 7 all day, when anyone will have the opportunity to learn about the coffee shop’s mission, sample food, drink and baked goods prepared by the cafe’s personal chef, Tamera Wilson-Nein.
The Land of a Thousand Hills employs what they call a collaborative trade model, meaning they work in-person with Rwandan coffee farmers on other quality-of-life issues beyond keeping the coffee trade fair. In 2005, Jonathan Golden started the company with a goal of helping Rwandan residents reclaim their lives, work for a just living wage and learn to work together after the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
Land of a Thousand Hills seeks to address poverty in Rwanda by paying fair wages and providing social, economic and spiritual solutions.
Stump was excited to find a franchise opportunity with more of a mission than just making a buck. And by what Stump and Taylor say was the grace of God, the space next to Come to the Well was open for rent in the Blake Park shopping center. Stump is the chief executive of Come to the Well, a nonprofit dedicated to providing “Christ-centered wellness, fellowship and wholeness nourishing the mind, body and spirit,” according to the foundation’s Guidestar page. Come to the Well offers yoga classes, massage therapy, a prayer room and worship services.
Opening the Land of a Thousand Hills cafe and creating a community space falls in line with Come to the Well’s goals. The Come to the Well foundation owns the Bradenton Land of a Thousand Hills franchise, but Stump tries to view it as a community-owned space.
100 pounds of coffeeQuota required to earn less than $3 per day minimum wage in GuatemalaGlobal Exchange
“We rented here because it’s close to the hospital and there’s a lot of wellness that can happen here because of all of the doctors’ offices,” Stump said. One of her first customers was a husband whose in-laws were in Blake.
“And that’s what it’s made for,” Stump said. The renovation took about seven months, starting in November. The cafe employs 12 people part-time, but Stump credits volunteers who helped host pledge drives and fundraisers, re-upholster furniture and install machines.
“It was the collaborative effort of a community that desired to have a space like this,” Stump said. One volunteer, retired City of Bradenton Fire Department captain Paul Ewers, has more or less become the Bradenton Land of a Thousand Hills’ on-call maintenance man. And Ewers, 63, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It has a lot to offer to the community,” Ewers said. “It serves a good product for a good purpose and has a great atmosphere. And we have fun.”
Land of a Thousand Hills Bradenton: if you go
Address: 1822 59th Ave. W.
Phone: (941) 224-7717
Prices per person: $2 to $4 for coffee, $3 to $6 for breakfast, $3.50 to $7 for lunch
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday
Source: Land of a Thousand Hills menu