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Price Is No Object at This Coffee Shop

Garage sale paint-by-numbers kitsch hangs alongside paintings by local artists on the walls of Downtown Credo, a coffee shop in College Park. The fresh-ground coffee is hand-cultivated Cafe de la Esperanza that owner Ben Hoyer buys directly from a Guatemalan farmer. If that sounds like an expensive brew to order, it is. Or maybe it isn’t.

You won’t find a price list on those walls to help you out, and when asked “how much,” Hoyer responds with a sincere “whatever you’d like.” What you pay for a cup of espresso or a locally baked pastry at this Smith Street coffee shop is up to you.

“I can count on one hand how many times people haven’t paid or pay a quarter,” he says, “and everything balances out. When they see the donation setup, most people will add a dollar rather than take one away.”

Hoyer, 30, opened Downtown Credo in November 2010 as a nonprofit, with customers donating as much, or as little, as they want. Proceeds benefit local charities, and the goal at Credo is to involve volunteers to meet people’s needs rather than giving money directly. Students from the Parramore- area Boys & Girls Club were offered haircuts for the new school season, and Hoyer funds materials to paint houses and clean up park areas to aid Green-Up Orlando.

—Joseph Hayes

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