Thursday, November 3, 2016

Saving the Firewheel: Interview with Mike Lapointe of Firewheel Community Coffeehouse in Everett WA

Mike Lapointe (La-Point) is facing a crisis with the Firewheel, located at 2727 Colby Ave, Everett, WA 98201.  Currently under economic hardship, he reaches out to the community for support after participating in the community for many years.

Mike Lapointe (center) at Firewheel Community Coffeehouse

His goal of reviving the "Town Hall" concept to allow local citizens to be able to voice their opinions, concerns and bring to light issues that may not be normally seen or heard of.  Currently, Mike's location is open to all groups of people who wish to hold events and meetings.

Many call this place a second home because of the welcoming atmosphere and comfort within.  Others know of the location because of the activism out of the Firewheel, on issues such as helping the homeless and counseling groups.

Our exclusive video Interview with Mr. Lapointe explains in further detail the issues the Firewheel are facing and how people can help.  No one wants to see a local business have to close, especially one that works so closely to help those within the community.

LCI Exclusive: Interview with Mike Lapointe of Firewheel Community Coffeehouse in Everett WA

GoFundMe Link for Donations:



Outside of the Firewheel
Following description is from the "GoFundMe" page link for donations:
The Firewheel is community first and foremost. We do more than sell coffee. We promote and grow the community. Meeting space is free for any group and we stay open beyond our normal closing time, until a scheduled meeting or event is over. We have a small but eclectic library of books for people to read while visiting or to buy if they prefer. Everything we can do to keep things local we do, from providing pastry and sandwiches from the Colby Diner across the street, to offering delicious gourmet coffee from a small Seattle business wanting to expand into the Puget Sound area.
We are environmentally conscious, recycle and even have our coffee delivered by sailboat to keep our carbon footprint small. We have a music venue growing in popularity, especially among our young customers who find it hard to locate a place to hang out that welcome them and offer an alcohol free environment.
We present all genres of music catering to whatever musical preference you may have.

We have become the Town Square missing in our towns and cities of today. We promote discussion and understanding of important issues to our society and provide a place to lay back, have a good time and leave with a sense that this is where you belong, because it is where you belong. It is where we all belong, our space… the commons.

Over 4 years of community building, of sacrifice in money and thousands of hours in volunteered time by many people has kept the Firewheel afloat. But the efforts have all  gone into just surviving to this point of success and there are still needed additions to be made to The Firewheel to ensure we remain open and evolve to meet the needs of our customers and our communities.

Much of our equipment is old and needs to be serviced or replaced.  If a new freezer is needed suddenly, we may go out of business. The increase in participants and number of meetings and events require building of interior walls to muffle the sound of the expresso machine or loud bands and separating the meeting areas from the front counter for privacy. Our furniture is well worn and we are always looking for replacements. As we grow so do our cost to operate. Staying open later requires more electricity and as we have more musical events that has increased the cost of our liability insurance.

Then there are additions to our menu. We would like to offer additional items on the menu which will sell during the summer, a time when sales tend to drop off somewhat, and we have some ideas in mind, but they require the purchase of additional equipment. Keeping sales up during this time of the year is crucial.

Financially, The Firewheel has persevered longer than any other company would have, because our goal was not profit as a measure of our success. We are at the point where this venture can be self-sustainable with as little as $10,000 to pay off the incurred cost spent just to remain open when times were tough and making the improvements I have mentioned.

It is the people who made The Firewheel a valued part of the community. Please contribute whatever you can to grow our shop even more and ensure it will continue to evolve and  always be a great destination spot for all the people in our community. 
This contribution is from Seattle-based independent journalist, David Malekar, Independent Associate Editor for the Liberty Chronicle Independent; who publishes content to the WashCo Chronicle and other online publications.