Why "The Quiet Workshop" Relates to Drinking Ethical Coffee

In partnership with Daystar Center, we're hosting The Quiet Workshop on Saturday, May 30, 2015.  The idea is that we spend the majority of our lives being stressed and busy.  What if we took 8 hours on 1 day to begin to address our stress and busyness?  Could we step out of the traffic, see how it feels, and perhaps incorporate some quiet into our every day lives?

What does this have to do with drinking coffee that's good for the farmers and the planet?


  • Both have to do with purposeful living (one of Overflow's values).  
  • Both have to do with actually thinking about why we do what we do - from where we spend our money to how we spend our time.  
  • Both are about the habits we build INTO our lives to help build UP our lives (and the lives of others).
If this seems up your alley, we invite you to check out the full details.  Register early for a $20 discount and to reserve your seat before it fills up.  Space is limited to 40 people so there's lots of value to the workshop.

Nichols Farm CSA is coming back to Overflow!

We're excited to welcome back Nichols Farm for the 2015 season!

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  It's about relationship.  You get local, fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables while building a relationship with a local farmer (in this case the Nichols family).  

Nichols has made some improvements for the coming season:

  • All members also receive a 20% discount on any farmers market purchases.
  • Expanding partnership with Local Thyme to include more weekly recipes and tips to best utilize your CSA share. 
  • Now offering a half share that is every other week for those who thought it was just too much produce.  

This 3rd one is probably the most exciting for people who were hesitant to sign up previously.

Find out more and sign up at this link.

Full disclosure: Overflow is not getting paid to host this CSA. We might receive a box of fruits and veggies to split among the staff. People who come to pick up their food might make a purchase from Overflow. We're not sure what might happen. Primarily, we're doing this because it's the right thing to do.

Thoughts on Our 4 Year Anniversary

Today marks 4 years since we opened to the public on March 18, 2011.  In case you're wondering, the day after St. Patrick's Day is most definitely a great day to open a coffee shop, at least in Chicago.  I'm sure you can imagine why.

The past 4 years have had their ups and downs.

We knew when we chose the South Loop neighborhood that we had an uphill battle in front of us.  The South Loop just doesn't have the population density of other neighborhoods. Plus, it is still perceived as "scary" by some who live north of us so they don't visit for eating, drinking, or shopping.  Even more-so in 2011 than in 2015.

We were, are, and will be willing to fight this uphill battle because we believe the long term benefit will be worth it.  We envision that, if we put in the effort at the beginning when small businesses around us was somewhat scarce, we'd become a neighborhood institution.  Even if lots of competition opened up later, we hope we'll be so ingrained in the South Loop that no one could compete with our South Loop neighborhoodliness.  Besides, the more direct trade coffee being consumed the better!

Did we accomplish this vision?  Hard to tell.  But I think that, if we were gone, we'd be missed by lots of folks.

So, what got us through the past 4 years?  In a word, perseverance.  Even when the going got tough, we pushed through.  We tightened our belts.  We put in long hours.  We never gave up or backed down.  We went through the pits of despair and kept our hope alive.  We won't bore you with all the details but I can tell you I wouldn't want to live through it again.  I would add that we didn't persevere alone.  There were lots of friends, family, loyal customers who stood with us and helped us when we couldn't keep going on our own.

What's next? We're close to becoming profitable and then the sky is the limit.  We've got some great ideas along the lines of Placemaking, a real South Loop Chamber of Commerce, franchising, and further mentoring/coaching of others who want to start coffee shops of their own.  There's still a lot of slavery in the world as people produce coffee, clothing, flowers, sugar, etc.  There is still lots of work to do and we're not giving up anytime soon.  Face it.  You're stuck with us.  :-)

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