DBU Alumnus Serves through Entrepreneurship

Doug Hewitt sitting at a table with coffee

One of the hallmarks of a DBU education is the process of learning what it means to be a Christian servant leader. Alumnus Doug Hewitt is putting his DBU education into practice through a recent business venture in northern California. Hewitt, along with a business partner, decided to launch a coffee shop that would help others while also being profitable. The result is called 1951 Coffee Shop, which is staffed exclusively by refugees.

Hewitt transferred to DBU his sophomore year and quickly became involved with the vibrant community of international students.

“God has continued to align throughout my life all the various passions he has given me, and at DBU I was able to grow in my passion for international students.” Shortly after coming to DBU, Hewitt enrolled in Dr. David Naugle’s Christian Worldview class.

“Dr. Naugle’s class helped me see how to use my intellect to worship Christ,” said Hewitt. “It was a real turning point in my life, being able to see how I could integrate faith into my whole life.” Along with Dr. Naugle, Hewitt recalled many other professors who invested in him and helped him grow both academically and spiritually.

Now, as an entrepreneur, Hewitt has been putting what he learned at DBU to good use. 1951 Coffee Shop has been recognized already for its novel approach to meeting social needs while also staying economically viable. Others in the coffee industry are taking note. Blue Bottle, one of the West Coast’s leading coffee brands, has sent managers to learn from Hewitt about how to train refugees.

Group of people at 1951 Coffee Shop

The specialty coffee industry is a tough business, but Hewitt points to the education he received at DBU as being a catalyst for how he has responded to the challenges he has encountered.

“At DBU I learned how to think about tackling tough problems. One way that this happened was that I began to learn how to more effectively communicate with a personal touch. In my role now, I have to find creative ways to communicate one-on-one, heart-to-heart, and my desire is that our coffee shop is a place where other people can be given space to do the same. People love coffee shops because they provide space to encounter others, so with 1951 we are meeting a lot of needs.”

Hewitt is thankful for his time at DBU, noting that he keeps up with many of the friends he met while on campus. “At DBU I formed genuine relationships with some of my best friends, and even though many of them live in other countries, I always enjoy when I can visit and reconnect with them.”

While he wants to focus on growing 1951, Hewitt is excited about possibly expanding the business or opening other types of cafes. His time at DBU prepared him for a life of creatively serving others, and as he helps refugees by providing job training and employment, he is practicing Christian servant leadership. “DBU helped me see how my vocation could make an impact for Christ,” Hewitt said, “and for that I am grateful.”

Written by Dr. Mark Cook

Dr. Mark Cook is the Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies and Leadership at Dallas Baptist University.