Coffee & Community

Jessica Sawyer Experience, Fall 2019

When Tori Acker graduated from the University of Mobile in 2017 with a degree in intercultural studies, she landed in a career that allows her to bridge the gap between cultures.

Based in Alabaster, Alabama, her Vessel Coffee Co. started with a renovated trolley and desire to create a community.

“Food and drink is a commonality in cultures, and coffee especially so,” said Acker. “You can have someone from a cold climate culture and a warm climate culture sit down together over a cup of coffee and have at least one thing in common.”

Though Vessel Coffee Co. is a growing for-profit business, she also has plans to begin a nonprofit.

“I’m hoping to start a nonprofit to work potentially both domestically and internationally with other nonprofits, using the coffee industry as a common theme,” she said.

Acker’s sights are set on more than the coffee business and nonprofits in the future. Thanks to her experiences at the University of Mobile, she is inspired to use her coffee company and knowledge as a way to go into the mission field.

“Going through the intercultural studies major, I definitely learned a lot about the different cultures, the commonalities and differences between them, and what ministry looks like around the world,” she said.

“I saw a lot of different guest speakers who were bivocational in the mission field. They had another job while in the field, and that helped be a catalyst for my idea of starting a business.”

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Jessica Sawyer