Colin Flahive and three friends didn’t open Salvador’s Coffee House in 2004, on a busy street in the capital of China‘s southwestern Yunnan Province, for ethical or humanitarian reasons. At the time, they were just trying to make back the $30,000 they’d invested in the business while fending off the cockroaches they had inherited from a previous tenant.
But friends say they have always treated their employees â€“ young women from a rural corner of Yunnan â€“ with kindness, respect, and an awareness of the harsh realities facing rural migrants trying to make a better life in Chinese cities.
Now Mr. Flahive has linked the business to two grass-roots initiatives he created: an organic grocery service and a project to offer art and health classes in rural villages. He also leads or facilitates a range of nonprofit and humanitarian efforts across the province, including raising $30,000 for a Salvador’s employee who faced a life-threatening medical emergency.