In 2020, Compass Coffee is Brewing
More Than Coffee
Businesses across D.C. are taking part in initiatives that make it easier for employees and customers to exercise their civic rights. Local coffee roaster Compass Coffee is one small business proving that civic engagement is just as important as your morning coffee.
Compass Coffee is a 2020 DC Small Business Recovery Microgrant recipient, administered by Wacif on behalf of Mayor Bowser’s Office and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. With 12 cafés nestled across the District, Compass Coffee has grown to be a staple for D.C. coffee enthusiasts. Co-founded in 2014 by Harrison Saurez and Michael Haft, two U.S. Marines that were stationed and deployed together in the Middle East, Compass makes “real good coffee” and tea with exciting ingredients that are heightened by drops of Simple Syrup – Compass’s line of unique flavors that enhance the drinking experience. The line of syrups has been a success for the coffee roaster, with Simple Syrup sold in its cafés, and to select wholesalers and D.C. grocery stores.
To continue executing their mission of making “peoples’ days better,” Compass Coffee is supporting civic engagement in their cafés, on social media, and through partnerships. All Compass Coffee cafés participated in National Voter Registration Day in late September through a partnership with TurboVote to promote voter registration.
In collaboration with Power the Polls, an alliance of public and private sector organizations encouraging poll-worker sign up, and Civic Alliance, a nonpartisan initiative of companies supporting civic engagement, Compass is providing PTO for employees that volunteer at voting polls. Compass also plans to provide adequate time scheduling for employees that decide to vote in-person.
“Wacif’s investments help create an ecosystem of small businesses that invest in their communities, creating opportunity and enriching civic life,” said Harold Pettigrew, Jr., Wacif CEO. “Compass Coffee’s pivot and elevation of civic engagement exemplify this model of economic and community development, and Wacif is proud to partner with them.”
“At Compass, we pride ourselves on always finding a way forward while helping our City,” said Kuran Malhotra, Compass Coffee Director of Corporate Development. “It’s clear that in Wacif we have found a partner who holds those same values.
The 2020 election season continues to be shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has thrown economic headwinds at communities across the country, and many small businesses have been forced to shutter, while others have found ways to pivot. Compass Coffee has leveraged this unprecedented moment to help “make peoples’ days better” and safer.
After seeing the D.C. Government’s request for hand sanitizer production, The Compass team came together in full force. The same equipment used to brew their simple syrup found a new purpose at Compass Coffee: Simple Sanitizer. In four months, the production equipment initially intended to make Simple Syrup at Union Kitchen, a food business accelerator that Wacif supported through a loan in 2019, transformed into a production facility manufacturing thousands of gallons of Simple Sanitizer for emergency response workers, entrepreneurs, and Compass customers.
“Wacif’s help through the Microgrant program allowed us to get Simple Sanitizer off the ground and continue operations through a challenging time,” said Kuran. “Their continuous support has been invaluable as we continue to push through this unprecedented situation.”
The Compass Coffee commitment to serving the D.C. community and “building their city” speaks volumes. Whether that is through coffee, hand sanitizer, or partnering on initiatives to elevate civic engagement, the coffee roaster company shows that they are ready to return the support that their customers have provided to them.