The Biz: Eat, Drink Coffee and Change Oil for Housing, The Salem News, July 7, 2010

Ethan Forman

Cafe Salerno and Park Street Auto Repair in Beverly are two of the latest businesses helping the nonprofit Harborlight Community Partners in its efforts to provide affordable housing.

Order a “Haborlight Pizza” at Cafe Salerno and $2 from every sale goes to the Beverly-based organization. Buy a year’s worth of oil changes from Park Street Auto, at $140, and $10 goes toward Harborlight’s programs, which include the operation of 252 low-income units around the North Shore.

“People are already consuming products,” Harborlight Executive Director Andrew DeFranza said. So it makes sense for them to help a local cause.

Two years ago, the Atomic Cafe on Cabot Street started selling coffee beans called Harborlight House Blend, said DeFranza, who approached owner John Mahoney about helping. Atomic donates $2 for every bag sold, and it has contributed $1,000 in two years.

DeFranza then approached Todd and Mike Rotondo, owners of Cafe Salerno on Cabot Street, a small, family-owned restaurant that seats about 70.

Patrons simply order a “Harborlight Pizza” and get the toppings they want. The pizza is a whole pie, only slightly smaller, with a portion of the proceeds going to Harborlight.

DeFranza has also approached Park Street Auto.

“We’ve been doing vehicles for First Baptist Church and Harborlight for years” Park Street owner Ron Jedraszek said. When DeFranza presented the idea to him, he felt it was time to give back. Park Street Auto also supports other organizations around town.

“We have no idea how much revenue is going to come off of this,” DeFranza said, but the aim of the program is to raise awareness.