Home > b-corporation, business, business law, community development, non-profit, social entrepreneurs, Uncategorized > About Propaganda Doughnuts’ Closing and West Michigan Business. Working to Build a Better Community.

About Propaganda Doughnuts’ Closing and West Michigan Business. Working to Build a Better Community.

A few days ago MLIVE posted about Propaganda Doughnuts’ closing on South Division in Downtown Grand Rapids.

I was a fan of Propaganda Doughnuts. Occasionally on Sundays after church my family would pick up some doughnuts and go to a park with some friends. I am sorry that I won’t be able to do that any more.

Polarizing Comments.

According to MLIVE, “Propaganda Doughnuts posted to Facebook – then apparently removed – an explanation for why it has closed after two years operating on South Division Avenue. A screen shot is being shared on social media:

‘It was too much to ask our customers to accept being harassed and approached by panhandlers. Customers were also having to walk past intoxicated and passed out people on the sidewalks and in the doorways.”This area is no longer acceptable for customers who just want to stop in and get some great doughnuts and coffee.'”

Kind of a polarizing statement. I understand why the post was apparently removed. You will find people who completely agree with the author’s sentiment, and others who don’t.

If anything, Propaganda Doughnuts’ departure from downtown Grand Rapids and its comment provide an opportunity to ask questions.

Personally, I think a relevant question businesses can ask in similar  circumstances was identified by Thomas J Curry of the OCC. Mr. Curry addressed a crowd talking about the great community development work going in in Detroit. He asked this question:

“Are you working to build a better community?”

Don’t hear me wrong – the Problems are Real.

Propaganda Doughnuts had a legitimate complaint. Homelessness, crime and poverty are realities in downtown Grand Rapids.

A few months ago for National Reentry week the US Attorney General issued a press release citing:

“Every year, more than 600,000 people return to our communities after serving time in federal and state prisons…another 11.4 million cycle though local jails.” 

For more information, check out the Department of Justice’s Fact Sheet issued in connection with its first ever National Reentry Week.

These real problems don’t always have readily visible solutions.  However, local businesses should pause and ask the question: “Am I working to build a better community?”

Business Doing Good. Social Entrepreneurship.

More and more businesses are finding their identity in doing good for their community. Michigan is gearing up to pass legislation to allow for the formation of Benefit Corporations.  B-Corps are for-profit businesses that are committed to social good.

A few weeks back I authored a post titled  West Michigan and its Thriving Culture of Social Entrepreneurship.

This list  of “B Certified” companies includes Cascade Engineering, The Image Shoppe, & 616 Development. These are West Michigan companies committed to creating a material positive impact on society and the environment.

Businesses asking the Question.

Many businesses are continually asking the question posed by Mr. Curry: “Am I working to build a better community?

These businesses are socially minded. Purpose Driven. Whether B-Certified or not. I think of Express Employment Professionals in Grand Rapids as one example.

In conclusion: a call to local business.

Local businesses – I encourage you to partner with local non-profits. Work together to build a better community.

If you aren’t familiar with the leaders in a particular organization, introduce yourself.

You don’t need an excuse to invite dialogue on some difficult issues affecting our community.

Connect with Mel Trotter Ministries – A standing invitation from me – join me for lunch.

E-mail: Jeshua@dwlawpc.com


Twitter: @JeshuaTLauka

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