Australian native Russell Hayward’s love for coffee began when he was just 15 years old. As an adult, Hayward worked in advertising and in the music industry, which took him to the United States in 1991; he produced and promoted concerts, curating one of the biggest gatherings of guitarists in history for Guitar Player Magazine. He moved to Dallas in 2001 and, after noticing the nonexistent coffee scene, opened his own shop.
Ascension, Hayward’s shop, is the type of place you might visit for great conversation. There are no televisions and no tech distractions. “People want this community—this coffee shop occasion, as I call it,” Hayward explained, “but they want it to deliver something else.” To fill the gap in what coffee customers want and coffee shops deliver, he introduced a valid breakfast, a valid lunch, and a light dinner to his shop’s menu. After acquiring a liquor license, Ascension reached the status of “coffee shop occasion”—a place for customers to visit all day, every day, from 7am to 10pm.
This shop has a humanitarian purpose. Always interested in philanthropy, Hayward spent 1993 digging water wells in South Sudan. His primary charity work is through Water is Basic, a nonprofit that fights for clean water around the world. Shortly after making his own shop, he founded a project called the Ascension Foundation, which seeks to help farmers at every level, worldwide, achieve their goals.
Read the complete, original article at WFAA ABC News.