W/n W/n Coffee Bar Founder Stories

W:n W:n PictureOn March 14th, W/n W/n Coffee Bar joined the ICE Institute to share their founder stories. W/n W/n, or Waste Not Want Not, is a café and bar that has a central focus on sustainability and co-operative thinking. It is a worker-owned co-op that began with an idea 2 ½ years ago of three friends wanting to open a homestead in Detroit, Michigan. After realizing they wanted to stay in the Philadelphia area, they opened W/n W/n Coffee Bar. They have a strong local agricultural network with other co-operatives, building power by connecting with and supporting other co-ops. They help other co-ops and the environment by only purchasing local goods and reusing or composting all foods they can.

At W/n W/n, every owner works. Any employee can work toward ownership, and their decisions are driven by a consensus. Payments for each employee is interesting, as it is spread across how many hours each person works, but every person is paid at the same rate. The salaries are need-based, and the rest is deferred into a capital account if the company cannot pay their full salary at that time. Lyndsey, one of the owners of W/n W/n, decided to become a part of this wonderful project because of her disbelief of inefficiency and injustice within restaurant businesses today. She wanted to be a part of how decisions are being made and how those business decisions affect people. W/n W/n has creatively built an alternative to capitalism from the ground up with cooperative models. Their food is delicious (especially their lavender and olive oil bread), and they have a wonderful story of finding a creative way to reinvent the restaurant industry. Go check them out!