How did Greyhouse start?
Greyhouse Coffee & Supply Co. is a not-for-profit organization started and owned by a college-aged church community here at Purdue called Campus House. Since 1966, Campus House has been a part of Greater Lafayette. For years, we dreamed about creating an authentic way to serve West Lafayette beyond our walls and providing a cultural crossroads for those who live, work, and study on campus.
We imagined a place where the community could pause life to enjoy a conversation with an old friend, to make a new one by sharing a table, or to reconnect over a meal. We wanted to treat people well by serving hand-crafted foods made from local and regional ingredients and high quality, conscientious coffee.
In the summer of 2008, hundreds of Campus House supporters donated the necessary funds to get this started. Over 200 of our friends then volunteered their time to renovate what you see today in just 36 twenty-hour days. Purdue professors laid tile, local doctors installed trim, students painted walls, and they all wrote their dreams of what they hoped would happen at Greyhouse on the bottom of the floorboards.
Today, we invite you to be a small part of the bigger, ongoing story of Greyhouse.
Is Greyhouse a non-profit organization?
Yes, we operate as a not-for-profit organization. The idea to serve the community came first, and using coffee as a means to that end second.
We desire for our staff to create and build community so that Greyhouse feels like home. Likewise, we invest time in searching for some of the best ingredients we can find from around the world so that we can treat patrons as friends and family, confidently serving them something special and from the heart. We also offer unlimited free high-speed internet in a comfortable atmosphere, encouraging the community to linger over good coffee and even better conversation.
We strive to support not-for-profits and social agencies, both locally and internationally, that are making a positive difference in peoples lives. After we cover our expenses, our goals are to reinvest in better ways to serve the community and to spur on new initiatives with a similar mission.
Greyhouse isn’t simply an organization, it’s a way for us to make a difference.
What do you do in the community?
Our desire is to be a place of inspiration for local change-makers. We want to create an environment for locals to meet, collaborate, and dream of a stronger, healthier community.
In the shop, we attempt to elevate the arts by displaying a rotation of work from regional painters, sculptors, and artisans. We provide live music and entertainment most Friday nights, and help host an annual street festival here in the Village called Starry Night, which supports local literacy.
We have supported homeless shelters, hunger relief initiatives, and humanitarian causes throughout Greater Lafayette. We’ve also partnered with global efforts such as Swipe Out Starvation, the Hunger Hike, Aid Japan, Imani Market, and TOMS Shoes.
We’re trying to do our very best to support and communicate some amazing things happening around us. Please consider how you may be able to participate as well.
What do you do beyond this community?
There are a lot of really good people working hard to do some neat things throughout the world of coffee. We try to connect with and support as many of them as we can.
We take every opportunity to share what we’ve learned to conscientious coffee shop founders whom desire to make a difference. We work with roasters who give back to their communities, and we try to find suppliers that provide sustainable solutions that will help us continue on into the years ahead.
Since coffee is grown in some of the most economically suppressed places on the planet, we especially try to support our farmers. We have provided opportunities for our baristas to go on trips where our farmers have invited us into their homes, and we have helped them harvest coffee. We helped buy bikes and livestock for farmers in Rwanda and worked with Swipe Out Starvation to help plant a sustenance farm there that feeds 10,000 orphans. We also support a not-for-profit agency growing coffee as a means of economic recovery in Thailand. And one of our former baristas is now living among the farmers of Guatemala to support them full-time.
We are currently providing our coffee grounds for a prototype mechanism that up-cycles used coffee grounds by converting them into a fuel source.