Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Book café hopes to leave a good footprint

Book café hopes to leave a good footprint

Footprints opened last month. Mateo Rozo Henao
Footprints opened last month. Mateo Rozo Henao

Book café hopes to leave a good footprint

Georgina Hemmingway hopes that Footprints Café, which opened on Street 26 last month, will be the first in a network as far-reaching as Starbucks. The social enterprise serves coffee and food, but its primary focus is peddling books. Nearly 9,000 are currently en route from the UK.

The project will bring world-class resources to a small and underserved community, according to Hemmingway, the enterprise’s CEO.About a third are children’s books that will be donated to rural schools.

Another set will form an academic reference library for the Siem Reap community – including its many university students – located upstairs, away from the noise. The remainder – all fiction and young adult titles – will be on sale in the café.

Footprints has received funding from an investor who has agreed to sponsor three cafés over three years in Cambodia, with the possibility for regional expansion. “The big dream is that we have enough cafés that we can be self-sustaining,” Hemmingway says. She has in mind an ethical equivalent to bigger coffee chains.

The café will judge its performance by how it treats its people, including fair wages and professional training for its staff. Footprints is also invested in the environment: the café uses natural products, composts waste and doesn’t use plastic. “We’re a triple bottom-line social enterprise,” Hemmingway says. “We concentrate on people, planet and profits.”

Footprints also supports a number of local sellers, including a custom line from Ammo jewellery designers. A social enterprise hub with office space for community members will soon be developed. For Hemmingway, the model is simple. “Most people want to leave a positive footprint,” she says.

Footprints Café is located on Street 26, near Wat Bo. For more information, visit footprintcafes.org.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all