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Small Business, Big Difference: Spotlight on Downtown Credo

It’s National Small Business Week — a time to celebrate all the independent sellers that make up the backbone of the American economy. Every day this week, we’ll be featuring Square sellers who have not only built thriving businesses from the ground up, but are also working every day to make their communities better.

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on Downtown CREDO.

Downtown CREDO, a nonprofit based in Orlando, Florida, has been around since 2010 — working on a variety of fronts to cultivate what it calls “networks of meaning, impact, and community” in America’s cities. And as we celebrate businesses doing good for their communities during National Small Business Week, it’s worth pausing to reflect on its CREDO:

Life is worth living. I refuse to merely exist. I pursue a life of meaning and purpose, fulfillment and joy. The world is not yet as it ought to be. Neither is my city. Neither am I. Yet, I reject apathy and despair. I engage the world, my city, and myself to make an impact for good. I am not alone. I press through narcissism, isolation, and self-sufficiency, striving to live in authentic community.

Downtown CREDO is organized into three divisions — Coffee, Rally, and Conduit — that each strive to help cultivate deeper connections with individuals and their communities. First, there’s CREDO Coffee, a donation-only, fair trade coffee shop. The idea is that by choosing how much you pay, you become more conscious of where your money is going — considering the impact it will make on everyone involved, from the growers to the baristas.

Then there’s the Rally division, which partners with charities — many of them youth organizations — to facilitate community projects. With the goal of helping people foster a more meaningful relationship with their neighborhoods, the division helps do things like maintain vegetable gardens, clean up streets, and refurbish playgrounds. It also offers tutoring services.

To promote the arts, Downtown CREDO’s Conduit division focuses on empowering creative endeavors. The nonprofit features local artists and musicians regularly at the coffee shop and also offers free classes for anyone who would like to explore the arts.

Founder Ben Hoyer has been featured in Huffington Post for his wonderful work and also gave an excellent Tedx talk on his philosophy around giving back. We Skyped with him earlier this week to hear what’s new with Downtown CREDO. Here’s our conversation:

CREDO Coffee uses Square Point of Sale.