Ask anyone in the Downtown Creative District of Salem, Ore., where you can find the hottest, most laid-back coffee shop in town, and they’re bound to send you to Clockworks Cafe & Cultural Center.
Clockworks Cafe is owned and operated by the Culture Shock Community Project, a nonprofit organization that hosts arts and entertainment events. The thriving, community-focused establishment recently brewed up more than its signature Stumptown Coffee and Smith Tea: In June, it was named the winner of a $5,000 small-business grant in Intuit’s ongoing Love a Local Business campaign.
“This is incredible. I’m almost speechless,” says Carlee Wright, associate director of the Culture Shock Community Project. “Our big thing [at the cafe] is connecting with the community and getting people to come out and meet new people and experience new things. So, we have different events that we host here, like a crafts night. And we also do a community game night. We even have different music events on the weekends.”
Clockworks, which opened in May 2010, now has 10 dedicated employees who really click with one another. “‘Clockworks’ really fit us because the clock [needs] so many different parts to make a working machine,” Wright notes. “And we think of ourselves as a place where everyone comes together to play their part. We fit like clockwork.”
And come together is exactly what Salem residents do at the popular cafe.
“We really think of ourselves as a place for the community that’s kind of by the community,” she says, proud of the reputation for which her cafe is known. “Our craft night, as one example, [began with] a girl who likes doing crafts and wanted to share it with other people. So, she came in here and we hosted it. People come in for free and hopefully grab a coffee to support our business and enjoy their experience.”
So, how will Clockworks put the $5,000 grant from Intuit to good use?
“We had a cleaning day over Memorial Day [weekend],” Wright says. “We closed down, cleaned the carpet, and went through all the furniture we have and washed it from head to toe. We used to have a living room area that had three or four couches, and they were getting old. We ended up getting rid of them. So, getting this money couldn’t come at a better time, because we’re looking at buying some new furniture and making our place homier again, because people really miss the living-room atmosphere we had with our couches.”
The Clock Is Ticking for Next Month’s Winner!
Will your organization take top honors next month and bring home an Intuit small-business grant? If you haven’t already, click here to nominate your business for a chance to win the next Love a Local Business grant.