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Grand Haven coffee shop's social and environmental honor a first for the city

Aldea Coffee is now a B Corp, which puts them on a list with some of the most recognizable brands in the world.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Aldea Coffee is about five years old and co-owner Andrew Boyd says more growth is to come, especially now that the company is B Corp certified.

"As we kind of move to the next stage of who we are as a business, doing something like this is going to help us mature in a way that we want to," he said.

Certified B Corporations balance purpose and profit. According to the organization's website, B Corporations "meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability."

Getting certified was a lengthy process. Aldea didn't achieve B Corp certification on their first try and it took about two years total to improve their score and meet the minimum criteria. 

"There are five different sections: workers, community, governance, environment, and customer relations," said team member Brittany Goode who played a big role in the project. "You look at those goals and where you can make those improvements in every, single section."

Once they were certified, staff members say they were instantly proud of their hard work.

"I started crying," Goode said. 

"I got the email about 8 o'clock at night and I called the other owner, Jeremy Miller, and I'm just bawling on the phone because it was finally complete. It felt so good to have that project completed and to know we did so well on it."

The distinction puts Aldea on a list of companies like Patagonia and Ben & Jerry's, which are world renowned for their environmental and social activism. 

Several other West Michigan companies from Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Holland, and Zeeland are also on the list. But Aldea, right now, is the only B Corp in Grand Haven. Aldea also has a cafe in downtown Muskegon and a roastery in Muskegon Heights.

"We have definitely found our way, but sometimes you're like hey I could use some resources in certain areas, so it's nice to have an entity to provide some of that in a way that you know is going to fit your values really well," Boyd said.

Though Aldea has already met the required score to become a B Corp, they're going to keep trying to improve their score even more. That could require them to invest more money into their work, but Boyd says that's a challenge his team is excited to take on.

"I guess we see cost in multiple different ways, including both socially and environmentally. Once you kind of have that realization that cost is not solely financial, you start to see some of the things you're doing having great value even though it might financially cost you a little bit more to get there."

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