Mary Allen Lindemann and Alan Spear

Mary Allen Lindemann | Cofounder and Community Builder at Coffee by Design & Alan Spear | Cofounder and President of Coffee by Design

When Mary Allen Lindemann and Alan Spear opened their first Coffee By Design (CBD) location on Congress Street in Portland, the downtown was experiencing a 40-percent vacancy rate. Coffeehouses have a history as “community centers,” as Lindemann notes, which allowed the pair to pursue their love of high-quality coffee while also making a difference in their community. “We were young folks with a vision,” says Spear, “and we didn’t have doubt.” As Portland has evolved, CBD has grown, too, and Lindemann and Spear now employ more than 60 people and operate six retail locations, as well as a roastery with over 500 accounts. For all their success, Lindemann and Spear have not forgotten their love of Portland. In each of their locations, they respect the character of the neighborhood and try to strengthen the area through the creation of a community space, rather than transforming it. In the past 23 years they have committed almost$750,000 in cash and in-kind donations to fund various community development projects, including international projects in communities that grow their coffee beans, such as a wellness facility in Jardin, Colombia, and an educational programin Coorg, India. Back in Maine, Lindemann is the cofounder of Portland Buy Local, an organization that supports Portland based businesses and preserves the city’s strong identity. The pair started the Rebel Blend Fund grant program to support art projects around the state. Sustainable practices continue to define the CBD brand, as exemplified by its B Corporation certification, which represents a business’s commitment to measure its impact on all stakeholders, including the community. “We have always been focused on planet, people, and then profit,” says Lindemann. Of their success, Spear adds, “I just feel blessed by how we have been embraced by the community. All of us are lucky to live in Maine.”

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