Feeling a little guilty about your weekly latte bill? (Looking at you, double pump venti with extra foam.) Place your caffeine needs in the capable hands of the baristas at The Pamplemousse Project in White Plains where you can sip, snack, and sit as pangs of mea culpa fade with each cuppa. That’s because at this new coffee shop every last dime is being donated to local nonprofits. And even more eye-opening? Loyalty members (AKA java addicts) will have a say in which charities get the dough. (Mug drop!)
The Pamplemousse Project, which opened at the tail end of 2022, is the brainchild of White Plains couple Lydia and Gary Kris. They “always believed there was a need for a really nice café in White Plains,” explains Lydia, who had a career in consumer products marketing whereas Gary worked in the finance sector. They also owned a small dental equipment manufacturing company in Rockland County for 15 years, and after selling it, they looked at one another and asked, “What’s next?”
Business-minded but also keenly attuned to the needs of those around them, they both sit on a few boards in Westchester. “We saw an increasing need for services in the community. Hunger, the arts… organizations are struggling to raise money,” says Lydia. The dynamic, socially conscious duo decided to combine their desire to create a place for folks to gather over a good cup of joe with their urge to give back and support their community.
Keeping in line with their mission, their coffee beans are ethically sourced from Rainforest Alliance producers. Roasted for them in NYC, the beans are fashioned into all the steaming incarnations you’d expect from a reliable coffee shop, including tea and hot chocolate (a must). Pastries and muffins from NYC bakeries keep the cups company. In addition, there’s a candy wall with more than 50 varieties and a drool-worthy case of chocolates and truffles.
Lydia says they’re still in the ramping up phase and paying the bills for the build — the space is large, modern, welcoming, and bright — but once they’re actually turning a profit, they’ll begin making grants, putting not a single penny in their own pockets from there on out.
Lydia’s projected plan is to give out grants on a quarterly basis. There’s an early buzz about this, as proposals are already coming in via a click on their website. In addition, the invitation is out for loyalty members to join the Community Advisory Board, which will help determine where the money goes. “We want the community involved in the process.”
As for why this coffee shop with a conscience is named after the French word for grapefruit? “It’s a silly nickname for our dog and it’s just a fun word,” says Lydia. “It’s a metaphor between our dog, who is a rescue, and our project with the café. We don’t know her history and she has her challenges; much like our community, which has its challenges, like every place.”
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Lydia and Gary Kris are hoping to address those challenges with their coffee shop “project” and “bring joy to this wonderful, vibrant place” that is White Plains and the greater Westchester area.
They’re doing it seven days a week, one cup at a time. And if you spring for extra foam, all the better — for everyone.
124 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plain; 914.829.4736