At Uncommon Coffee Roasters, Pride Is Celebrated Year-Round

As coffee shops around the world celebrate Pride in June, Uncommon Coffee Roasters builds inclusion and diversity into their daily operations.


Photos courtesy of Uncommon Coffee Roasters

This article is part of a series highlighting coffee shops across the country celebrating Pride Month. If you have any stories or coffee shops you’d like to highlight, drop us a line

For Guy Darienzo, Pride isn’t simply a month of the year, but an entire philosophy tied into the way he runs his shop, Uncommon Coffee Roasters in Saugatuck, Mich. “Our company celebrates our LGBT roots all year long,” he shares of the café, bakery, and roastery, which has been open in Western Michigan since 1994. “As a certified LGBT Business Enterprise  we think it is important for many reasons.” Uncommon, which has been an LGBT-certified business since 2009, has been colloquially known around town as the “local gay coffee shop” since it opened, embracing the title and providing a safe space for the local queer community.

Since 1994, Uncommon has been known as the “local gay coffee shop,” and continues to be a welcoming place for the local queer community. This was their 2017 shirt sold during Pride.

Although the company celebrates its queer roots all throughout the year, Uncommon Coffee Roasters will be celebrating this year’s Pride by engaging with the local community and releasing a limited-edition blend for the month of June. “Each year Uncommon Coffee Roasters (UCR) celebrates by participating in local Pride events in Holland, Michigan, and sometimes in Chicago as well,” shares Angie Smith, marketing specialist for UCR. “In 2017 we introduced the Pride Blend to celebrate Pride month. With this blend launch, we donated $1 of each bag sold to Holland Michigan’s LGBTQ Resource Center, Out on the Lakeshore. This year, we will donate $1 of each bag sold to the OutCenter of Southwest Michigan in Benton Harbor,” she says.

A barista wearing this year’s Pride shirt and holding the Pride blend. A dollar from each bag sold will go to benefit local organizations supporting queer communities.

While Pride continues to be an important time to raise awareness and celebrate marginalized communities, Guy is cognizant of how much work still needs to be done. “Being out since 1977, I have seen many positive changes for LGBT people. However, many people believe that because marriage equality is now the law, LBGT people are now treated and protected as equals in the U.S.,” he shares. “But this is not the case in many states and countries around the world.”

In fact, Guy notes that laws against the queer community are becoming more restrictive in the last few months. “In fact, there have been many anti-LGBT bills introduced in the majority of our states in 2017,” he shares. “Surveys show that Americans today are less accepting of LGBT people than they were in years past.”

Guy believes in working on issues of diversity and inclusion every day, and embedding them into all parts of his business. He’s releasing a new cold-brew product in a few months, with the cartons reading that Uncommon is an NGLCC-certified LGBT business.

This is why spaces like UCR are fundamentally important, and why Guy imbues the values of acceptance and inclusion throughout his business—from UCR’s website to the packaging of UCR’s cold-brew cartons, which can be found in grocery stores across the East Coast, Florida, and the Midwest. “On each carton, we have listed that we are an NGLCC-certified LGBT business.” The NGLCC, or the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, is a collection of queer business owners who promote growth for certified businesses and increase opportunities for the LGBT community through mentorship and grants.

About Ashley Rodriguez 413 Articles
Ashley is the Online Editor for Barista Magazine. She's based in Chicago. If you want to share a story or have a comment, you can reach her at

1 Comment

  1. Visiting Michigan every couple of months I always take time to visit Uncommon Grounds, the best coffee and the best folks.

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