HomeCoffeeIn St. Louis, Blueprint Espresso Addresses the US Gun Violence EpidemicDaily Espresso...

In St. Louis, Blueprint Espresso Addresses the US Gun Violence EpidemicDaily Espresso Information by Roast Journal

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Blueprint Coffee Watson exterior

Blueprint Espresso’s Watson location inside a former auto store. All pictures courtesy of Blueprint Espresso.

Blueprint Espresso was coming into its second 12 months of enterprise in St. Louis, Missouri, when unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, just some miles from the Blueprint cafe. 

The homeowners noticed that their group was hurting, and targeted on providing help to those that wanted it in no matter means they may. 

“At that time we had been solely a 12 months previous, and I don’t suppose we actually understood a lot about social media and firm voice,” Blueprint Espresso Proprietor Mike Marquard lately instructed DCN. 

Three years later, in 2017, when a choose acquitted St. Louis police officer James Stockley of homicide prices after he shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith, Blueprint spoke out once more. The corporate additionally spoke out publicly on gun violence points and racism all through the presidency of Donald Trump.

“We took a reasonably ahead stance with our emotions on that,” stated Marquard. “Individuals had been acquainted with our model, however we nonetheless obtained fairly a little bit of suggestions, each constructive and adverse.”

By way of all of it, Blueprint Espresso has grown into three retail places in St. Louis: the unique espresso bar and roastery on Delmar Boulevard in College Metropolis; a preferred Watson location that used to accommodate an auto store; and a 3rd location within the metropolis’s literary arts constructing. 

Blueprint Coffee Watson interior

Blueprint Commissary Director Lindsey Usry contained in the Watson store.

As they presently put together to construct out an roughly 11,000-square-foot area that may turn out to be their new roastery, headquarters and coaching middle, the Blueprint workforce has not deserted plans for social activism, particularly concerning gun violence and institutional racism.

Black Lives Matter indicators are displayed within the home windows of Blueprint’s three cafes, and weblog posts about systemic racism stay all through the Blueprint web site. But probably the most impactful illustration of Blueprint’s public stance in opposition to gun violence could also be its present Instagram marketing campaign, by which distinguished blue squares on the Blueprint grid spotlight gun-related tragedies of the previous. 

Eager to confront the problem of gun violence each regionally and all through america, the Blueprint homeowners started strategizing methods by which to publicly categorical their collective voice. As an alternative of providing a one-off submit after a brand new tragedy unfolds — a method that’s reactive — the homeowners determined to concentrate on previous incidents, providing constant reminders of the human impacts of gun violence.

“We wished to make it one thing that isn’t straightforward to neglect or overlook, as a result of that appears to be what occurs if one thing terrible occurs in the neighborhood,” stated Marquard. “Persons are outraged for some time after which folks begin to heal and return to life because it was. I don’t suppose the ache goes away, simply the shock and awe.”

The brilliant blue squares stand out among the many photographs of latte artwork and baggage of espresso. The newest reads “Could 15, 2022. 10 DEAD. Buffalo, NY.” The following one reads, “April 20, 1999. 10 DEAD. Columbine, CO.” Every has captions outlining the tragedy and honoring the lives misplaced. 

Towards the backdrop of Instagram, the place the timeline all the time strikes ahead, these snapshots of essential moments in American historical past create a somber impact, emphasizing the permanence of gun violence. Their juxtaposition with photographs of latte artwork, espresso baggage and different acquainted coffee-focused IG pictures is equally intentional. 

As of this writing, there have been 223 mass shootings in america in 2023, which equates to greater than 1.6 mass shootings per day.

“That is the place we’re at as a tradition,” says Marquard. “There’s a espresso tradition. There’s a meals and beverage tradition, however there’s additionally a violence tradition.”

Blueprint needs to speak about each.

Blueprint Coffee Owners

Blueprint Espresso lively homeowners Nora Brady, Kevin Reddy, Mike Marquard and Mazi Razani in entrance of Blueprint’s forthcoming new headquarters.


Does your espresso enterprise have information to share? Let DCN’s editors know right here



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