Chattanooga coffee shop serves kindness and gives back
If you asked Shannon Greer 20 years ago if he thought he’d own a coffee shop, the answer would have been a firm “no.”
“In my wildest dreams I couldn’t have dreamed it,” he told Channel 3.
He didn’t grow up in Chattanooga but Greer says he fell in love with the city during college while attending Lee University.
After college, he moved around for several years before returning to the Scenic City to pastor a church.
Greer loved coffee so to make extra money he started working at a local coffee shop.
“I fell in love with the customers and the environment and the opportunity just to meet people in the community,” said Greer.
In 2011, he and a friend opened Cadence Coffee located on East 7th Street in downtown Chattanooga.
“We just said we wanted it to be a place that wasn’t just another coffee shop but a place that was really about making a difference,” Greer told Channel 3.
Chattanooga is home to many great coffee shops so to make Cadence Coffee different Greer says they focused on three main goals.
“We wanted to have really, really good coffee and serve coffee with excellence. We wanted to be a place of community where anyone in the community could come in and feel like they had a place to belong here. We also wanted to bring about positive change whether that’s offering jobs to people or providing a cup of coffee for someone who maybe can’t afford it,” said Greer.
Customers can turn their morning cup of coffee into an act of kindness.
The café' partners with nonprofits and donates a portion of its sales to help people fighting poverty, human trafficking and people who are in a place of crisis in their lives.
Customers can pay $2 to buy a cup of coffee for someone who doesn’t have the money for it through the café’s pay it forward system. They can also offer inspiration and handwritten encouragement on post-it notes which are placed on the wall. When someone comes in and can’t pay, they’ll get an uplifting note and a free cup of coffee.
Greer says he started seeing people coming into the café' from the streets, he gave them coffee and offered help.
“We recognize every person who walks through our door as a person. Not a homeless person, not a wealthy person but a human. We want them to walk in here and feel like they have a place to belong,” Greer told Channel 3.
In addition to owning Cadence Coffee, Greer is also the pastor of River Church next door.
During the week, it’s all café space and on Sunday morning it becomes worship space. Support groups and bible studies meet there on weeknights.
Greer, who jokingly calls himself a “pastorista”, says volunteers and employees at the café are changing lives using a cup of coffee.
“It’s probably one of the most fulfilling things that I could ever see myself doing and I hope that I’m doing it a good long time,” said Greer.
You can learn more about his ministry by visiting the church's website.