One Bistro, a pay-what-you-can-afford restaurant, is tentatively scheduled to open a second location on Main Street in Xenia on April 13.
Since 2012, Robert Adamson, a chef owner and operator of the Miamisburg-based One Bistro — “Our Neighbors Eat” — has asked patrons to buy a $6 to $9 meal for themselves and, if possible, pay a little more to offset the cost of a meal for a future patron without the money to dine out.
The person who eats a free meal is encouraged to serve as a volunteer for an hour at the restaurant.
“God really changed my heart,” Adamson said. “Not only my way of thinking, but what I had been called to do. There’s a lot of things that made me realize that it wasn’t about me, that God had a bigger plan for my life, and just the idea of how many people were living with food insecurity.”
Meals at the restaurant are served by volunteers and Toward Independence clients, an organization that helps people with developmental disabilities.
One Bistro is one of a growing number of entrepreneurs who are merging their pursuit of profits with a higher calling.
A “biznistry” combines a business designed to sustain the salary of its employees with the philanthropic idea of pouring a portion of profits into faith-based works.
Construction on the Main Street location in Xenia was funded through a City of Xenia community development block grant, matching downtown Xenia design funds, and a donation from the charitable organization 100 Women Making a Difference in Greene County. Toward Independence, owns the building, and is contributing to the renovation.
“The owners of One Bistro restaurant had the vision to see that Xenia, while underserved, was therefore a fertile market for new, high quality restaurants,” said Lee Warren, a City of Xenia spokesman. “At the same time, the City of Xenia leadership recognized that without fostering diverse dining and lifestyle options, that realizing our goal of promoting a more vibrant urban core would be difficult to achieve.”
Adamson said he is establishing a Middletown location as a food truck this month for six months before opening a permanent site.
“The needs are great, with the heroin problem and food insecurity and poverty,” he said. “I think it’s essential that we’re in Middletown.”
Biznistry is a term Chuck Proudfit said he coined 13 years ago as he founded At Work on Purpose, a non-profit network designed to help working Christians interested in learning how to be the church at work.
Now the nation’s largest, citywide marketplace ministry, AWOP has more than 8,000 members in Greater Cincinnati and the Miami Valley and is dedicated “to equip everyday Christians to find and fulfill God’s purposes at work,” he said.
When he launched, AWOP, Proudfit didn’t want to do what most businesses do, which is to launch a fundraising effort to start it, he said.
“Instead I decided to take the profit dollars from my consulting firm, SkillSource, and use the profits to fund the budget for At Work on Purpose,” Proudfit said. “I was joking with the team that I had put together to launch the ministry, and I said ‘the business will fund the ministry and we’ll call it a biznistry,’ and we all started to laugh.”
Whole projects began to spring up, he said, including large-scale operations, such as Grace Chapel Biznistry Campus in Mason, a SkillSource office, as well as separate biznistry efforts, including a gym, hairstyling salon, landscaping company, indoor sports complex and a large archery ministry.
A biznistry not only creates jobs, which is a ministry in and of itself, he said, but also creates profit dollars to use toward everything from funding local places of worship and networks designed to help biznistry growth, to funding mission trips to other countries.
“When I generate profit, instead of paying myself a big, fat bonus, I can literally give it away and invest it in ministry work,” Proudfit said.