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C2W Blue State Coffee Hartford, Conn. Founders: Andrew Ruben, Marshall Ruben, Carolyn Greenspan Locations: 6 www.bluestatecoffee.com A transparent supply chain and beans sourced by managers who visit Costa Rican farms are just part of what makes Blue State Coffee unique. The chain is also committed to giving back: In five years, Blue State has donated more than $300,000 to charities chosen by customers. Co-founder Andrew “Drew” Ruben conceived the idea for Blue State Coffee while he and his father Marshall Ruben were at a local café. “Wouldn’t it be great,” Drew asked, “if profits from all those lattes could be channeled into great causes?” The first location opened three years later, when Drew was 19; he acted as CEO while attending Yale University, handing the reins over to his mother Carolyn Greenspan in 2011. In addition to artisanal coffee drinks and other beverages, the menu includes foods made from fresh natural ingredients, locally grown and seasonal when possible. Each store has a “cause center” providing information about the causes currently being supported, as well as jars into which customers cast ballots for future charities to be supported. Two percent of total sales is donated to charity. “Our goal is to make it easy for customers to support the causes they care about without having to spend more money than they would elsewhere,” says Greenspan. “We’re happy that our customers have embraced our business model.”

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