• Angelica & Eric

We all deserve a decent living

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

Great coffee? ✅

Open Arms (from 6 ft away) 💯

Cozy, vibrant spot? ☀️

What else could an awesome coffee shop need?


We believe that when it comes to business, values are as important as the bottom line, and we’re betting that Odd Meter Coffee can be just as - or more - successful than those that focus solely on profits. We want to be open about this not to earn a badge, but to invite respectful conversation, be accountable to you, and to prove that a business prioritizing values can thrive.


Eric and I would not want to have a business if we couldn’t offer a decent living to the people we work with. That's our bottom line.


We think it’s high time we all rethought the current business model which calculates people’s worth in labor dollars, itemizing them as a cost to be minimized in the budget spreadsheet. We are committed to a different model that centers human worth, and fosters justice and greater equity. Our staff’s whole lives have value to us, not just the hours they give to our business.


Service jobs are often seen as a stopover on the way to a “real job,” and are exploitative. The pay is low, hours are rough (dread the clopen!!) and there’s little respect given to the people or the work. We’ve both worked in the service industry and know how hard it is to consistently make ends meet, let alone put something aside to get ahead. We feel it when someone asks “what do you do?” and there’s an awkward end to the conversation when the answer is “I’m a barista!” That’s wrong. Baristas' work is to serve, make great coffee, and make people’s day brighter. How awesome is that?! 🙌🏻 🙌🏼 🙌🏽 🙌🏾 🙌🏿

We believe this kind of service and commitment should be valued more.


How do we change this? Odd Meter Coffee is starting our staff on salary, at a living wage rate, and offering a 6-10% increase each year for at least the first three years. How can we afford that when others say it's not possible? We prioritize it. Payroll is the first thing in our budget, and everything else comes after. And, we all start out at the same pay. If it’s good enough for our staff, it’s good enough for us. We are all in it together and there’s enough to go around. A living wage is the floor. We can't party if we don’t have a floor under us. But once we do...


Let’s party! 🎉 🎊 🥳 As we grow more profitable, we will add benefits. Will it be health insurance? Profit sharing? A transit stipend or paid parking (ok, that’s a must in Salem in October)? Something else entirely? We’re not sure yet and we don’t want to make assumptions about what would be meaningful or beneficial to the members of the group. This will be up to all of us to figure out together. And we are wicked curious to find out.


What about movin’ on up? Not everyone wants to be a manager or is good at it, but everyone deserves the chance to cultivate their career, if they want to. If someone wants to be a Barista and that makes them happy, we support that! Literally. When and if someone wants to take on more responsibility, we will offer many ways to develop and grow professionally, according to what each staff member wants to explore. Plus more $$. This could be in marketing, operations, purchasing, flavor creation, really any way someone can contribute meaningfully. There will also be training and field trips to broaden horizons and boost people skills, coffee skills, all those skillz to pay the billz! We want to be sure that if they ever leave us (heaven forbid!) they are equipped to do great things wherever they go.


Since we’re really trying to do this differently, we have to work differently too. We’re fed up with top-down decision making. The OMC culture is collaborative. We expect this to unleash creativity and tap into the wisdom of the group to help us solve problems, build strategy, and find more and better ways to put our values into action. We’re giving a ton of thought to how we can work together in the most inclusive, respectful, human-centered, and enjoyable way possible. So far, this includes regular meetings where the diversity of opinions and perspectives of the group are given equal weight; ceding power to our staff to teach us and each other how they work best; and coming together to help each other deal with events in the world around us. These are some of the ideas we are launching with, but we are saving a lot of it to be decided in the group as we go. This is a huge experiment and maybe a risk. We believe shifting a lot of control to the group will make for a totally new kind of work culture and we are super excited, and a little nervous, and totally here for it.


Also, HIRING! Write to us at hihi@oddmetercoffee.com if you’re curious, and tell us why you think Odd Meter Coffee is for you.