The Modern House: Answering the call to help the homeless through coffee

Posted On January 2, 2023

Why would someone open a coffee shop when they don’t even drink coffee? For Troy Whetstone, it’s a means to an end – and what he was called to do.

Whetstone, our guest in a recent episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston,” is CEO of The Modern House Coffee Shop in Birmingham. With the help of a pastor and other members of his community, Whetstone opened the shop in 2016 as a way to help the homeless.

An exercise in social entrepreneurship, The Modern House Coffee Shop hires homeless people and trains them with the job skills and social skills they’ll need to maintain employment and pull themselves out of homelessness.

“We believe in second chances,” Whetstone said. “A lot of people with that second chance will do right.”

Whetstone isn’t the first entrepreneur we’ve interviewed who felt a calling to start their business. Like others we’ve met, he was helped with significant investment at the outset and has developed partnerships along the way to make the vision a reality.

And like others we’ve met, he isn’t through now that the shop is up and running. He’s got bigger plans, including hiring a professional roaster, who will train homeless employees in the craft as they roast their own coffee. Whetstone also plans to expand a financial literacy program to serve the entire community.

Whetstone doesn’t take credit for any of it, but he is making a difference in his community.

“I just believe that when you’re helping someone,” he said, “you’re just getting blessed along the way.”

This podcast has been part of our collaboration with Business Alabama magazine, which featured Whetstone and The Modern House Coffee Shop in a recent cover story.

Categories: Blog, Charity, church, Entrepreneurship, Podcast, What's Working with Cam Marston, Work