Meet Claire Sumadiwirya, the owner of Bellden Café in Bellevue, WA. More than a neighborhood coffee shop, Bellden gives back to the community every day by donating leftover pastries, incorporating rotating charity items on the menu, staff volunteerism, and offering items for sale by local makers.
The cafe’s origin story began when Claire’s son was hospitalized in China. During his recovery, she found herself yearning for the comforts of a hospital coffee shop and opened two hospital coffee shops in China. After realizing her gift for cultivating community, she brought her passion back to Seattle and opened Bellden Café in 2017.
Get to know more about Claire and Bellden Café in this week’s Business Spotlight Q&A.
What’s something your customers may not know about you or your business?
As of today, we actually sold 13,000 charity drinks, and we’ve been open for only four years. […] And I’ve become a board member of two different nonprofits here, and one is the Congregation For The Homeless. We’re building a brand-new shelter at Eastgate — actually, we’re breaking ground tomorrow! The other one is the Bellevue Downtown Association. The idea is that I really want to focus and try to bring more connection between small business owners, especially minority business owners, coming to Bellevue so we can find more ways and tools and help them establish their business in Bellevue.
What’s your favorite part about the community your business is in and why?
My favorite part is that people are very generous and also very selective on the things they love to support. Reason being is because I think that when you know exactly what you love to support, you will support that [whole] heartedly. […] I love that the Bellevue community is very educated on the things they’re passionate about and that they also do their studies so when they support something, it’s going to be a generation-long support.
Why is it important to you and your business that people #SpendLikeItMatters at small businesses?
I think that’s the whole mission behind [Bellden Cafe]. We need to make sure that we spend like it matters because every dollar people spend at a business is saving somebody’s life and changing the world that we live in right now, which is not an easy world to live in. So, when you spend your money, if you don’t spend it wisely to help somebody, I think there’s less benefit of spending that money, which is hard earned by that person as well.