We have been discussing social capital and how it contributes to the building of community for several weeks, and now we want to look at examples of businesses and organizations in Wilmington that foster social capital. We hope that by providing examples like this, the concept of social capital will become more concrete.
For over a year and a half, I worked at a small, locally-owned coffee shop on Wrightsville Avenue called the Smudged Pot. It is no longer in business, but it had been there for over 15 years before the owner finally sold it. The Smudged Pot was small and located in an old building with a rundown-looking parking lot and worn out floors.
It wasn’t much to look at, but it had the most loyal clientele I have ever known. The same people came in every day, same time of day, same drinks, same stories and jokes. Friendships were built, families were formed and contacts were established – all while getting your morning (or afternoon) cup of coffee.
Saturday mornings in the Smudged Pot were an experience not to be forgotten. Families with young kids, a few people with their well-known and much-adored dogs, several residents from nearby neighborhoods, a retired man who knew everyone in Wilmington along with their life story, and a couple baristas serving the coffee was the familiar Saturday morning scene.
Strangers became friends, friends became family, and sometimes they became employers. In a town that can sometimes feel bigger than it is, places like this are essential to building positive social capital.