Activists brew up idea for radical coffeehouse


Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 3:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 3:40 p.m.

Quinn Martin and Michelle Parker rang in the new year by launching a fundraising campaign at Indiegogo.com, the beginning of a two-month effort to raise the $15,000 necessary to kick-start their business.

They hope to open Gainesville’s first worker-run, vegan, anti-profit coffee house, Radical Press Coffee Collective.

Martin, 23, and Parker, 25, are two of Radical Press’ seven co-owners.

Radical Press will be located in the Civic Media Center & Library on South Main Street. The CMC is a magnet for Gainesville’s activist community, said Robbie Czopek, a coordinator.

Still, many Gainesville residents are unaware of the CMC.

Martin is optimistic about Radical Press’ ability to breathe new life into the CMC.

Parker and Martin are confident that the progressive values behind Radical Press are a good fit for the community surrounding the CMC. Its neighbors include the Citizens Co-op, the Sequential Artists Workshop and in early February will include the relocated Wild Iris Books.

As a coffee collective, all seven members of Radical Press own an equal share of the business and will also be the only people working there.

“It came from a desire from people who wanted to work for themselves,” said Parker, on the initial inspiration behind Radical Press. “And we all really like coffee.”

The name Radical Press is a double play on words. It is a reference to the French press coffee maker and to the progressive media, the “free press” that is so very important to the social justice activists and human rights advocates that comprise the CMC’s usual crowd.

The term “anti-profit” signifies their intention to funnel any surplus revenue (after rent, utilities, equipment and wages) back into the CMC and, potentially, other community projects.

“By calling ourselves anti-profit, we’re committed to only paying ourselves a fair living wage and not trying to give ourselves more money than we feel we deserve,” said Martin. “We don’t like the idea that the nonprofit status can be abused and end up making people a lot of money.”

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