A passion for people led us to coffee. While mentoring for Mission St. Louis’ Job & Leadership Training program, our founders recognized a need to connect talented men from under-resourced communities to accessible, dignifying, and wealth-building work opportunities.
We started with a simple desire to create new work opportunities, but as we further connected with the many ways that coffee mirrors the beauty of our human diversity, our vision grew. We wanted our brand to be a challenge to St. Louis to break down the ignorance, fear, and tribalism that has caused real hurt and hopelessness in our region.
The name “Switch” is a challenge to switch perspectives with someone different than yourself. It is an extension of the idiom “walk a mile in another man’s shoes.” We believe that building stronger communities begins with a healthy understanding of each other’s experiences, challenges, and thinking. “Switch” is also in reference to switching the trajectory of a man’s life by providing dignifying employment that allows him to utilize his God-given abilities.
We believe coffee is so much more than a beverage with a boost of energy. We have found it to be a product that in many ways mirrors the beauty of our human diversity. As we focus on appreciating the subtleties of flavor, variety, and growing region we also celebrate the uniqueness of each country, people, and farm that brought it to us. Coffee gives us this platform to enjoy our differences both in bean and in relationship.
When you taste and smell the subtleties of our small batch roasts we encourage you to think for a moment about what it would be like to walk a mile in another person’s shoes, and to appreciate the subtleties of his or her talents, culture, and contributions to society.
Why North City
Job creation has always been our top priority, but we know that false hope, empty promises, and privileged ideas with poor execution have been part of the problem in our city. So, we poured every penny and ounce of energy into building a sustainable business that others can learn from, make their own, and grow their community with.
In October of 2018 we moved into a new roasting facility at 3108 North Grand Avenue in St. Louis City. Our roasting and packaging space is located inside of Mission St. Louis’ headquarters in the old North Side YMCA. Being in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood was an intentional decision for a variety of reasons.
For one, we wanted our address to challenge the status quo of putting new businesses in traditional, well-resourced business districts. We also wanted to learn from Mission St. Louis’ culture of loving people and helping men realize their value so that we could adopt it for ourselves. Finally, we wanted to be in North City because it makes our workplace more accessible to our workforce and it creates better pathways to keeping wealth in the community.