Posted by Gurdip (Honorary Member) Hari on Aug 31, 2017

At the August 31 6pm meeting, Lynwood Rotary members and guests heard a presentation by Kateri Gutierrez, Collective Avenue Coffee, and also by three members of the Collective.  The explanation included in the weekly  update for coming meeting programs, is repeated herein:  “Inspired by the community and the need for local economic development, Lynwood natives & residents, Jonathan and Kateri, founded Collective Avenue Coffee, a mobile coffee stand that engages in community efforts.  Their goal is to open a brick and mortar in Lynwood and create fair, sustainable jobs for locals.  It is the first coffee business to be run as a worker owned cooperative in LA County.  Collective Avenue Coffee wants to introduce community created jobs through its coffee shop, and would like to engage the Rotary Club in our efforts to acquire a brick and mortar location.”

The three participants, in addition to Kateri Gutierrez were:  Daisy Cuellar, resident of Boyle Heights, and a graduate of Wellesley College; Briana Tetsch, resident of Bell, and a junior at Mount St. Mary's University; and David Nieto, a resident of Lynwood and a Senior at Firebaugh HS in Lynwood; and unable to attend is Jonathan Robles, former ELAC student and coffee shop trainer.  Kateri graduated from UC Berkeley, in which she built her own major, focusing on American Consumerism.  Of note, Kateri  is a FHS graduate and also continues to reside in Lynwood. 

The Cooperative does not want to associate itself with a specific culture, such as Tierra Mia, which coffee shop locations identify them as all Latino. As worker owned, the workers become candidates and have to get voted in. 

The well-organized power point presentation included a description of Seven Cooperative Principles. As explained, the concepts include:  voluntary open membership; democratic decision making; cooperation among members; autonomy and independence; all membership economic participation; concern for the community; and education and training for all members.  Kateri noted that participants gain valuable work experience that can be included in resumes for job applications.  There currently are 8 interns in the Collective.

The quality of the coffee is important.  There are now over 15 items that are now on the menu.  In answer to a question from Member Ramon Rodriguez and current owner of a Lynwood hardware store, yes the collective is paring with a local business.  It is Balam Restaurant, at 11700 Long Beach Blvd. -- just south of the Green Line Station on Long Beach Blvd.  The collective operates at this location, 6am – 11am Tue thru Fri and 8am to 12 noon on Sat and Sun.  The Collective raised $9,000 for the espresso machine.  Also the Collective is selling cold brew bottles of coffee and plans to sell this product in retail locations throughout the area.    Also on the last  Friday nights, a program of music is offered at the same restaurant, Balam Restaurant. 

Kateri also explained that some of the awards Collective Avenue has received include the Ricardo Lara Excellence award in 2016 and the Small Business Majority's national forum for small business advocacy, in which she will be attending in Washington DC this upcoming October.

Before the presentation, Lynwood Rotary President, Joe Wang, commented about the Lynwood Rotary Club participation in the Annual District 5280 Beach Party & Cardboard Boat Race, Seaside Lagoon, Redondo Beach, held on Sat 5pm- 9pm,  Aug 26.   Joe Wang noted that there were overall fewer participants compared to holding the event earlier in the day. He had a photo of the boat race showing the Lynwood Youth act member rowing the boat.  This year the boat did not sink!   Club Secretary Lulu exclaimed that she was glad to be at the picnic and good to see all the Lynwood Youth act there with their parents. 

Marisela Santana made an announcement for a reception at the Lynwood Union Gallery, for a new artist, Michael Lara, for Thursday, Sep 7, 5pm -7pm at the Gallery.  Marisela explained that there will be music and other art on display.

 Guests at the meeting, who were presented by Daniel included:  Yolanda Rodriguez, who two years ago was Treasurer of the City of Lynwood; also Maria Viera, Block Watch Captain, &  Treasurer for Lynwood Block Watch; also Ana Barroza, Block Watch Captain, and Secretary for Lynwood Block Watch and also Secretary for the Lynwood Parking & Traffic Commission.     

Daniel Miller / Omar Franco / Rowland Becerra

Public Relations and Community Outreach for the Lynwood Rotary Club