What if you could give to charity simply by drinking beer? That’s the idea behind Center Public House, the non-profit pub Scott and Loni Wetzel hope to open in Snohomish.
What is a non-profit pub? Scott says all the proceeds go to charity, and none if it goes to his bank account.
“You come in, you grab a pint, you grab some food and then you get to decide what non-profit your money goes to,” he said. “So we’ll have a menu of four to six non-profits. At the end of the month we’ll take our profits and we’ll take those percentages and those non-profits will receive the money instead of lining our pockets.”
The couple say they have been looking for a way to give back.
“There’s a lot that we want to do, but I’m self-employed so we don’t have a ton of money,” said Scott, who does brand identity and package design, mostly for breweries. “There’s all these local and international places that we want to support. We’re really into the craft beer scene and we love the community of that. So we’re like, how do we change the word and drink beer at the same time?”
Scott will keep his day job, and his wife, Loni, would earn a paycheck managing the pub. They will also, of course, pay their employees. Their goal is to provide benefits and pay above minimum wage. All the money that’s leftover will go to various non-profits.
“We love Old Dog Haven, so we’ll probably do one for animals,” Loni said. “We’ll do one for sex trafficking, probably do a clean water one, some sort of environmental one. We’re also going to have our own which is going to be for the local restaurant industry, the front and the back of the house. We’re going to set up resources for them if they need financial help or marriage counselors and just have this resource, because there aren’t a lot of resources for people in the restaurant industry. It also has really high rates of abuse and drug abuse and there’s a real need that’s missing. So one of the non-profits on the menu will be our own and you can select that.”
There are already a few other non-profit pubs around the world, but the very first one was born in the Pacific Northwest.
“There’s actually another place in Portland called the Oregon Public House, and that’s a non-profit pub as well,” Scott said. “Actually, they’re the first one in the United States. We have some mutual friends of the guy who runs that. So we met with him and he gave us tons of great advice. We said, you know what, we can do this. We can do this.”
The Wetzels say The Oregon Public House has given $80,000 to charity since they opened in May 2013.
But before Scott and Loni can give away money, they need to get some. They already have the building, the permits, and the non-profit status, but they need to raise $500,000 to get the project started. So they’re looking for donations and investors and if you donate as a Founders Club member there are benefits.
“There’s a $500 level where you get a beer a month,” Scott says. “There’s a $1,500 level where you get a beer a week and then there’s a $2,500 level where you get a beer a day.”
Scott hopes they’ll be open by the end of the year, and says the Snohomish community is just as excited as they are.
“We’re just getting tons of buzz off this. We’re getting people every day who are like, ‘When are you opening?'”