On any given Wednesday morning, The Pour Choice is abuzz, and not just the with regular coffee-before-commute audience filling Old Town Auburn’s popular craft coffee bar and tap room. While baristas serve up regional favorites (and foam art) from the nitro coffee bar downstairs, the upstairs lounge is flooded with local business owners and entrepreneurs.
These are the 1 Million Cups Gold Country meetings, a weekly gathering of local entrepreneurs who come together in a mutual passion for bettering their business community by sharing and learning from one another.
The crowd gathers earlier than the 8 o’clock starting hour, filling the air with comradery and openness. Strangers introduce themselves easily, discussing their businesses, interests, and affinity for Auburn and surrounding areas. There are no awkward moments, only energy and excitement.
Bringing the room to attention, Jerome Love of Clementine Coffee Roasters introduces the keynote speaker of the week. On a sunny spring morning, this honor falls to Courtney McDonald, who, with her husband Eric Alexander, is owner of Auburn’s Four Tines Farm and part owner of Carpe Vino restaurant in Old Town.
Courtney outlines the daily work involved in running their farm, on which they grow flowers, produce, tend orchards, and raise lamb; touching on the symbiotic relationship between their family farm and family restaurant.
When she wraps up her presentation, Jerome pulls up a chair for her and she settles in for Q&A. It seems that everyone in the crowd finds her line of work fascinating and has some bit of farming knowledge they want to unearth from her while they have the chance.
The mood in the room is one of shared interest in fellow entrepreneurs, as well as a reverence and respect for the professional community that they’re all here to foster.
When it seems the questions are finally exhausted, Jerome opens the floor for any community announcements. A smattering of attendees take turns discussing upcoming events at their organizations and places of business, and then, as the meeting is concluded, the conversations and networking pick right back up, many settling in with their coffees to talk a little longer about their business ventures, each other, and their community.
1 Million Cups Gold Country
This local chapter of 1 Million Cups is designated for businesses and entrepreneurs in the Gold Country region. Meetings are always held at The Pour Choice - the craft coffee bar and tap room hosted the inaugural meeting before it had even opened to the public.
1M Cups supports entrepreneurship and community building in the Gold Country region over coffee and conversation through brief lectures, question and answer sessions, community sharing, and networking.
1 Million Cups Gold Country has met weekly to learn more about each other as people and entrepreneurs. The group attitude is one of community over competition. They believe in sharing in each other’s successes, as well as growing pains or hard times, in order to build a strong and supportive community.
Anyone and everyone can present at a 1M Cups meeting. From Four Tines Farm to Crossroads Church to Auburn Hip Hop Congress, plus many more, there is no specified archetype of business that is included. If you own or operate a business in Gold Country then you are welcome to join the community of 1 Million Cups Gold Country.
About 1 Million Cups
The Gold County chapter is one of many. 1M Cups was derived from the idea that it is over coffee that entrepreneurs network together and help each other to discover solutions.
In 2012, the Ewing Kauffman Foundation developed the 1 Million Cups program, which is a free resource created to help connect, engage, and educate entrepreneurs on a community level. Six short years later there are now more than 160 communities across the country.
These communities get support from 1 Million Cups, whom provide local entrepreneurs with tools and resources that empower them to break down the barriers that come with starting and growing a business.
If you are an entrepreneur in Gold Country, come join the business community conversation on Wednesday mornings at The Pour Choice.