By Hannah Lester
Coffee Cat has made a home for itself in downtown Auburn, as one of the popular coffee shops for locals and students alike.
The shop has been in Auburn for six years, building up to where they are now. It sells a lot of coffee — but there is a lot more to the shop, too.
“We focus on trying to offer small-batched, locally-sourced or at least responsibly-sourced, made in the US products,” said Madeleine Corbeau, owner of Coffee Cat.
These products, however, are usually created by small businesses, family businesses or female artists.
Over the last six years, Corbeau said she has always featured female artists, although it was not always on purpose.
“I think I’ve accidentally kind of always tried to support women, young women in the community,” she said. “Whether that’s in their business or artistic efforts or their personal lives.”
The business had to close in March because of the pandemic, but it was able to reopen in July. And at that time, featuring female artists, or family businesses, became more of a purposeful goal, Corbeau said.
“Not so much because they’re women, but it seems to kind of have naturally happened that the small-batch entrepreneurs who have the same values as Coffee Cat are kind of naturally women-run,” she said.
Corbeau said that these values are geared toward responsible sourcing, paying their employees a livable wage and looking at business as a personal and spiritual endeavor.
Finding artists and businesses to partner with is natural, she said.
“I’ve lived in Auburn for ten years and so I kind of have a good base of people just to reach out to and ask,” Corbeau said. “I know a few local artists, if I’m looking for something specific, I usually reach out to who I know first.”
Coffee Cat collaborates with businesses across the nation, not just local ones, to feature female artists.
Often, when featuring artists who put a lot of work into the product, Corbeau said she doesn’t like to take much profit off of it for herself.
“I did almost nothing for it and I think that the profits that I get from it is the gratification of knowing that I’ve connected two people who maybe would not have connected before,” she said.
Some of the products that the shop currently displays are syrups from Harbin Hollow in Tennessee; syrup from Meadowland Syrup in Oregon, which is a mother-daughter team; hand-painted stickers from Wild Flower Paper Co. in Montana; macrame and embroidery and honey from an Auburn student’s company, Eddie’s Bees.