The idea for Wildflyer Coffee began in the heart of founder Carley Kammerer, who worked as a case manager and street outreach worker with youth experiencing homelessness in the twin cities. After four years in her role, she observed a common theme where her clients were able to get jobs, but struggled to maintain them. This proved to be a huge barrier to their ability to leave homelessness and maintain independence, and often left them cycling through chronic instability. A growing sense of frustration with systems that seemed to fail youth and a lack of adequate resources to meet their needs fueled her passion to create a company that would create employment opportunities for youth trying to leave homelessness.
Founder Ben Griswold had always wanted to launch a social enterprise working with marginalized communities. After gaining five years of experience in various finance roles in Houston and Minneapolis Ben decided it was time to seek out a way to use his passion for social enterprise in his community. He realized that one of the keys in achieving sustainability and independence within the unstably housed population is gainful and educational employment. Ben desired to use non-profit social enterprise to create employment opportunities and resources for people who desperately want to work and exit street life.
Ben and Carley met in the winter of 2016 and quickly began discussing the potential of a collaboration which would combine youth programming experience, business knowledge, passions for community development and coffee expertise. Wildflyer Coffee was launched in the summer of 2017 as a mobile coffee cart dedicated to growing slowly and sustainably into a permanent retail location. Since its inception, Wildflyer Coffee has employed ten young people seeking to leave homelessness.