A Valuable Gift from a Local Business Keeps “Pay What You Can” Coffee Afloat

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – A local business has stepped in to help ‘pay what you can’ restaurant Destiny Community Cafe after struggling to pay thousands of dollars for a new mandatory corporate sign.

It’s a happy ending to a story News 2 reported in June about Destiny Community Cafe in need of help. Read the initial report here. This report caught the attention of a local business seeking to help the restaurant in need.

Destiny Community Cafe serves people who may not be able to afford their own meals. The restaurant’s motto is:

“If your pockets are LIGHT, pay what you can. If your pockets are FULL, pay a little more. If your pockets are EMPTY, enjoy a meal in exchange for an hour of volunteering.

For over a year, people have been greeted at Destiny Community Cafe by the same hand-painted sign created by a local artist. The restaurant found itself in dire straits in June when founder Ragina Scott-Saunders learned that the sign had to be replaced by the owner.

“We had an old sign, but the mall went through all of these new upgrades,” Saunders said.

The cafe is located in the Oak Ridge Plaza in North Charleston. The owner has sent a letter to all businesses on the plaza regarding a new requirement for storefront signs. The owner now requires every business to have the following:

  1. All storefront signs (on the exterior awning of the premises) must be individual illuminated letters (on a photocell).
  2. Signs must comply with local regulations, be approved by the owner (prior to installation) and manufactured and installed by a professional signage company (approved by the owner).
  3. There will be nothing allowed on windows or doors except for hours of operation (1.5 ” white lettering).
  4. No other signage will be permitted (ie sidewalk signs, banners, etc.).

“So we had to remove all of our panels,” Saunders said.

Except that “pay what you can” coffee doesn’t necessarily roll into the dough. The price of the new signs required was high and they could not afford it.

“The new panels cost between $ 6,000 and $ 10,000,” she said.

Saunders turned to Facebook, hoping for help. She even created a GoFundMe page.

“I told everyone, well, it’s going to cost us 6-10,000 to get a sign, and we would really love your help,” she said.

News 2 saw Saunders post, and News 2’s Deanne Roberts wrote about restaurant needs, hoping to get the word out that the cafe needed help, and before they knew it, boom!

“The president of Anchor Signs asked his employee to let us know and said we didn’t have to worry about anything, that their employee would take care of the sign,” she said.

Anchor Sign stepped in to help.

“Our CEO saw your story and felt it was a good cause and that we should be a part of it,” said Josh Muckelvaney, team leader at Anchor Sign.

A local business that helps those who help others. For months, the company designed and built the coffee sign from scratch. Although time delayed the installation a few times, the company also delivered and installed the panel, all for free.

“Either way, we can help with businesses like this, we can’t always do that, but when we can, we always try to grab that opportunity,” Muckelvaney said.

Their generous spirit left Saunders jumping for joy.

“Just seeing him ride for us is a joy,” Saunders said.

Anchor Sign saved Destiny Community Cafe thousands of dollars, which was the cafe’s mission to pay it back.

“We’re just grateful, humble, I don’t think we can say thank you enough to them,” she said.

Saunders says the sign will help draw traffic to the restaurant. She also said Anchor Sign’s generosity inspired a new “pay what you can” family dinner service at the cafe. The restaurant will offer a family dinner service from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

The cafe operates only with volunteers and is always looking for more volunteers. To see how you can volunteer at the cafe, visit their website, Click here.


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Gladys T. Hensley

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