We work to increase the resilience of our Athens community. Every action we take as a business is guided by our greater goal of strengthening resilience and sustainability.
We embrace our local economy and local organizations: We don’t just buy local, we help make buying local happen! We don’t just donate money to non-profits, we get involved and participate in the action! We don’t just idealize a perfect world, we try to “walk the talk” to demonstrate one way it could be possible, right here, right now.
The inspiration for Athens’ Own came from a need for social change. So many companies and organizations were losing sight of the value of community and individual rights. The nation was focused on economic growth, by any means necessary. Through many personal endeavors to raise public voice on these issues, Athens’ Own founder Constantine Faller developed four key ideas:
- People are being mistreated by their employers. Not only are many people working in poor conditions with few benefits, but they are barely making enough money to survive. People do not enjoy their jobs, and they are not personally invested in their employment.
- The general public has lost interest in quality. Companies like Wal-Mart demonstrate the nation’s focus on cheap, flimsy, and just plain bad products. More than that, the process to bring these products to the people is socially, economically, and environmentally irresponsible. People don’t realize the High cost of low prices.
- There should be a way to come together and use the resources we already have to help people employ their passions. If the community is full of people who are working from their talents, and working on something they enjoy, while also generating a living wage, our community and world will be so much healthier.
- There should be an economic web, working under the community, holding the community together. The community needs a way to unite, and to have their voices heard through this window of the local economy.
To Constantine Faller, these concepts were so obvious it didn’t make sense why other organizations were not doing this. At the time, Constantine was already selling his own coffee to people out of his house. He decided to use his own product to attempt to create a model for how to do business better. He began the process to create a marketing and distribution network which would use resources already available to connect talented people to already established sellers. In July of 2001, he achieved his first success when Dawn Chorus Coffee began selling at the Richland Avenue C&E Grocery in Athens. Since then, he has worked tirelessly to help other local artists to find more efficient ways to create, market, and distribute their passions. The Athens’ Own family has grown to include numerous partnerships with other like-minded businesses, who together work to provide valuable services and high quality products to the community.
Some of our practices include:
- We work with small, local businesses and craftsmen who may not have access to certain channels of distribution. Athens’ Own provides transportation, inventory, and delivery of many local producers’ products to local groceries and businesses. We also serve as a common contact, so that a grocery or business does not have to deal with a large number of suppliers.
- We design, sell and distribute artisan style foods, which are locally crafted and made using sustainable practices. Dawn Chorus Coffee and Athens’ Own Dry Aged Beef are two of our best-selling products. We also help other individuals find resources to create and refine their own exceptional products.
- We create systems of cooperative use. For example, Athens’ Own facilitates the collection and distribution of the spent grains from the beer brewing process at Jackie O’s. After the grain is “malted” and drained, Athens’ Own takes this grain and distributes it to other partners, for livestock food and composting. Those livestock growers then sell beef and other products back to the community, including some for use in Jackie O’s kitchens. By acting as a channel and enabler for these types of cycles, Athens’ Own helps to build strong connections within the community. We put available resources to their best uses, rather than waste time and energy to create new ones. (Read more about Jackie O’s and their brewing process on their webpage – Jackieos.com)
- We work to grow jobs. Our Internship opportunities provide local Ohio University students and community members with hands-on experience, while simultaneously exploring each intern’s skills, strengths, and ideas. Through our internship program, we hope to address shortcomings we have identified in the traditional education system. We also hope to generate happier living-wage jobs by helping individuals find ways to employ their passions.
- Our Interns have an opportunity to earn our unique worker readiness certification. This provides potential employers not only with a guarantee that each person is a perfect fit, but also that the employer will not have to worry about work ethic, skills, professionalism, or additional training. The certification evaluates workers on personal skills, attitude, creativity, ambition, and communication.