PWA Small Business Grants Making an Impact in Kesennuma
April 12, 2012 – In October 2011 we reported a small business grant awarded to a Kesennuma coffee shop owner. Anchor Fullsail Coffee lost no staff members in the tsunami, but saw its Kesennuma shops washed away. Peace Winds America and the Kesennuma Chamber of Commerce and Industry awarded Anchor a grant to replace coffee roasters destroyed in the disaster. With PWA support, Onodera began the task of reopening shops in temporary locations and hiring local staff.
In March 2012 we caught up with Onodera at one of the new Kesennuma shops. Operating out of a temporary prefab, the coffee shop provides a dual benefit for the area: job creation and a boost for the local economy. With his new stores and the coffee roasters on the way, Onodera has a platform from which to continuing rebuilding and expanding.
While we sat drinking our coffee, we had an unexpected guest at our table: Ken Watanabe, Japan’s foremost movie star. Watanabe was in Kesennuma shooting a documentary on the tsunami rebuilding efforts. We shared with him our experience aiding relief and recovery efforts in Tohoku. Doing so in Anchor Fullsail Coffee, a visible sign of Tohoku’s economic recovery, was an added bonus. As we move away from the one-year anniversary, PWA remains committed to continuing our work of economic recovery in the region.
Photo: Anchor Fullsail Coffee owner Yachi Onodera and customer Ken Watanabe.