Value of community

January and February are typically slow months for local businesses, but this year seemed worse than usual, said Fat Chix Coffee Cantina owner Mary Mitchell.
Becky Vargo
Apr 2, 2013

 

When the Eastown business woman asked friends and customers what was going on, they told her they were cutting back because of tax increases, and high prices on fuel and food.

“With that came almost a paranoia. People were starting to stockpile,” Mitchell told a group of area residents at a recent Counterpart meeting. “One of my concerns with that is why is there not this sense of community, that we can’t sustain each other.”

Mitchell is no stranger to working in community.

Mitchell used her degrees in social work and education as she worked for Kent County Detention, and then as a middle school teacher.

She eventually went into church ministry, working primarily with youth, and became connected with a number of faith-based groups in the community.

The businesswoman said over time she realized she wasn’t meant to work in a structured environment.

Her sense of building community was also developing and she decided a coffee shop was the forum she needed, even though there were already too many coffee shops in town.

Mitchell targeted the east side of Grand Haven because that’s where her mother was raised.

“I had a lot of special memories there,” she said. “I decided that was a good place to start.”

Mitchell said it’s really other people’s ideas that get some of the community projects off the ground on Grand Haven’s east side.

“That’s what I do all day long, is listen to people,” she said from her eclectic blue shop at the corner of Beechtree and Grant streets.

“All I do is sort ideas and ask people, ‘will you do this, will you do that,’” she said.

Over the years, Mitchell has had at least a small part in the Eastown Association, the Eastown Fall Fest and the annual community picnic at East End Park.

More recently, she’s been involved in the Tuesday market, summer movies at Sluka Field and the decorative angels that lined Beechtree Street and Washington Avenue during the Christmas season.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

 

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.