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Its a Grind to Fight Poverty on Christmas

It's a Grind Coffee House in Mission Viejo will be open Christmas Day to raise money for Orange County's needy.

While other businesses shut their doors this Christmas, one coffee shop will remain open.

For the first year since it opened in 2005, It's a Grind Coffee House on Marguerite will remain open on Christmas Day. It's a marketing idea and a chance to do good for the community, said franchise owner/manager Wayne Kiang.

WHEN

  • Christmas Day: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Employees are donating their time and the coffee house will donate its sales to South County Outreach, a Lake Forest charity serving Orange County's poor.

Kiang estimates the company could raise $1,000 to $3,000 based on the store's usual daily sales.

It's a Grind mostly serves Mission Viejo residents and employees, Kiang said. 

"We're not by a freeway entrance," he said. "If you live here you'll end up (at It's a Grind)."

Kiang took over ownership of the franchise in early 2010. He transitioned from a career marketing auto parts in Los Angeles. Since then the East L.A. resident has split his time between It's a Grind and a Chinese food restaurant he co-owns in La Habra.

The trick to success in the coffee business is making people feel welcome, he said.

"Once you learn somebody's drink, it's pretty easy after that."

Kiang said the rising cost of food has put some pressure on the business. He expects coffee beans to rise in cost by 40 percent over the next five years.

That means his employees need to make drinks right on the first try and put the customer first, he said.

Since he took over in 2010, Kiang estimates he doubled the number of chairs and tables in the store. And he encourages customers to spend plenty of time in the coffee house.

"It's common sense," the owner said. "The customers pay for everything."

If this Christmas donation succeeds, Kiang said he'll revisit the idea next year.

Shripathi Kamath December 19, 2012 at 04:36 PM
"Employees are donating their time and the coffee house will donate its proceeds to South County Outreach, a Lake Forest charity serving Orange County's poor." In an age where a McDonald's top job creator gets a little extra for his chief-executive-officing while those minimum wage employees required to work on Christmas day do not get overtime, it is nice to see employees donating their time--voluntarily, I presume, and management thinking of those less fortunate. It behooves me to drink more coffee drinks on Christmas day. Caramel latte, largest size you have, sugar free, non-fat, extra hot, please. Heck, I am not waiting, I'll be there in a hour!
Dan Avery December 19, 2012 at 06:11 PM
So all of the proceeds are being donated?
Peter Schelden (Editor) December 19, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Yes, that's what I was told Dan.
Dan Avery December 19, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Thanks for the clarification, Pete! Imagine what could be done about poverty if all retail stores did that for one day out of the year.
Shripathi Kamath December 19, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Dan, retail stores have to remain in business. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Here's what I learned today about that principle: http://bit.ly/VQclkM BTW, the latte was nice, and the staff friendly enough that I splurged on muffins for all my co-workers.
Dan Avery December 19, 2012 at 06:50 PM
One day, Shri. We're talking one day out of 365.
Shripathi Kamath December 26, 2012 at 04:09 AM
I was there again today. Yes they were open, and some people were in there, sipping their favorite beverage. The Peter-Schelden look alike was there too, and my order was filled perfectly. The Kid bought something too, for The Wife. All good.

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