More companies are focusing on socially responsible business practices. Here's how three independent retailers are making sure their businesses do well by doing good.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a coffee shop and wholesaler in Portland, Oregon, works with coffee farmers to create programs for farmworkers, including nutrition education and funding for schools in the farmworkers' communities. The result is long-term, stable relationships with growers and higher-quality products. Stumptown also pays for health insurance for its full-time workers and their spouses.
ListenUp Audio Video, an electronics retailer, was approached by nonprofit recycling organization Eco-Cycle to use ListenUp's Boulder, Colorado, location as a recycling drop-off point. So ListenUp turned it into a marketing opportunity. The company has seen an influx of customers drop off old TVs and computer moni-tors in exchange for $50 in "Ecobucks," good toward any store purchase over $300.
Breathe Studio, a Fort Worth, Texas, yoga studio, switched to environmentally friendly cleaning products and introduced biodegradable yoga mats that emit fewer toxins than PVC mats. These moves have received positive feedback from students.
Gwen Moran is a co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans.