The Bordertown Story

After many ups and downs, including almost getting our building, losing it, then almost getting it again only to have it slip away once more, the building was finally ours! Now the real work began.

It took a bunch of crazy volunteers to renovate the boarded up fraternity that holds Bordertown.  Students, kids, and seniors got involved to demo and reconstruct the abandoned building.   Our goal was to create a warm place where the university could gather to study, eat and drink, and get involved in other social projects.  We also wanted a place where people crossed typical cultural borders and met as real people, not ideologies.  

Strong partnerships have helped make us who we are. A major part of our foundation is our roaster True Stone Coffee and their coffee importer, Cafe Imports

Something that was really important to us was that all of our coffee beans were ethically sourced. We wanted to be ensured that the farmers and their workers got fair pay and good treatment by the buyers and these two companies have made that a priority.

Partners like this have helped us build Bordertown into a place that not only can be a second home to folks on campus but somewhere that allows everyone who comes here to become a partner in what we do.

More than just a cup of coffee...

Greg Silker, Founder of Bordertown Coffee

The inspiration for Bordertown started with a post-hangover awakening I  had in college. In reality I was hungry for all the “life”  life could offer. During my junior year, there was a massive famine in the Asian subcontinent and I gained awareness of all those who were dying. Somehow I felt responsible--not that the famine was my fault, but simply as a fellow human being to try and do something--anything.  As I started looking around me, I realized there were needs in my own city as well.

The problem was, I didn’t know where to go to make a difference. I remember traipsing around downtown Minneapolis trying to find the United Way…then to various organizations to volunteer. They were all very helpful, but there was such a stark contrast – between the warmth and camaraderie of hanging out with my friends…celebrating without a care in the world – and the solitude I felt, beginning to care and seek involvement opportunities.

I needed a community that supported my new direction.

Bordertown, in its own small way, is meant to be that kind of community, and the best of my two college “worlds.” Bordertown Coffee is a self-sustaining non-profit.  In addition to serving as a rallying point for friendship and involvement, it is a prototype for social enterprise and  poverty alleviation projects. Bordertown welcomes you with a cup of coffee, fresh baked good, and the possibility of making a difference.




So what now?

Here we are, almost 9 years into this crazy world of coffee and trying to make the world a better place and facilitate community, and here's a bit of what we have done with the help of every single person who has walked in our doors:

  • Held events to raise awareness of human trafficking and slavery with Not for Sale Minnesota.
  • Partnered with The Enchantments to raise money for Casa de Proyecto Libertad, an organization that gives hope and help to battered women and children.
  • Partnered with World Vision to support our team in the Minneapolis Marathon and worked with them to raise money for clean water in Africa.
  • Worked with the Red Cross to raise funds to help folks both here and internationally that had their lives devastated by hurricanes and natural disasters.