By Jamie Schriner-Hooper, Executive Director for CEDAM
Last week, I had the distinct pleasure of visiting the Flint Crepe Company while in town for a Michigan Vacant Property Campaign community round table. They are right in the middle of downtown Flint on Saginaw Street. As a Clio native, I was often in downtown Flint as a child, visiting AutoWorld, the Windmill Place (now the University Pavillion), the Capitol Theater and other sites. Over the years, as with many Michigan downtowns, the businesses began to close, buildings were shuttered and disinvestment began. This is not the case today. Small businesses are opening their doors, restaurateurs are investing in the area and Flint is on its way back.
Those of you who know me know that I have a special place in my heart for small businesses – especially those that are completely committed to their neighborhood. I was a director for a small nonprofit in Old Town Lansing. Both my husband and younger sister own small businesses in my neighborhood. I was (and still am) fiercely passionate about small businesses and historic neighborhood districts. Last week was not my first visit to the Flint Crepe Company. I’ve stopped in several times during the last six months. Each time, the friendly staff greeted me, made suggestions and chatted with me like I was an old friend.
I’ve tried to get them to open a second location in my neighborhood, but their response was “We don’t do this because we love crepes; we do this because we love Flint.” It’s pretty clear that they love their community. They locally source their food and beverages from primarily Flint suppliers. In fact, they were out of spinach when I was there, but mentioned they would have it shortly as someone had just left to pick some. They are an active part of the Flint community. And, the best part, they give all of their tips on Tuesdays to a local, positive project. Here’s their latest post on their Facebook page:
Someone asked: “What is Tuesday Tips?” Answer: We donate all of our tips collected on Tuesdays to a local charity/organization. Each week is a different charity. Since opening a year ago we have helped to raise about $10,000 thru this program. We are always looking for charities and organizations that our customers would like to see supported. Please message us if you know of any.
My last visit was on a Tuesday. They were explaining their process to me as I was paying and asking if I knew of any great charities or organizations in Flint that could use some help. What an absolutely wonderful way to not only support great projects, but also make people aware of wonderful things going on in their community.
Businesses across the state in communities large and small are doing this and helping to make a difference. I encourage you to reach out to your local businesses, let them know what you are doing and support them whenever you are able. In the interim, be sure to stop by the Flint Crepe Company if you’re ever in their neighborhood – especially on a Tuesday.