When Plymouth native Mitch Reaume founded his first company, Fight for Something, roughly six years ago, his objective was to create a company that looked beyond profit. “Our goal is to take social business goals from being a niche to a norm,” he says.
Reaume is throwing down the gauntlet for all companies to care about community engagement. “Our goal is to see every company, in order to be competitive, have to exist for something beyond just profit,” he says. “Care about your community. Care about a cause. Care about something.”
To this end, Reaume has been developing several cause-oriented brands under his Fight for Something umbrella company. One of those brands—Northern Glasses—has been providing the Twin Cities area with drinkware that, in turn, slakes others’ thirst.
“Northern Glasses was specifically born while I was a pastor and taking groups to Haiti,” Reaume says. “I saw what life without water was like every day; that was a big part of Northern Glasses being born.” Through the Glasses for Gallons program, Northern Glasses donates a portion of all proceeds to charities that fight for clean water in various ways.
But with his company and brands starting to take off, Reaume had a difficult decision to make. “I had two jobs that I really loved, but I knew I couldn’t do either of them as well as I wanted to if my attention was split,” he says. A year ago, Reaume made the full-time switch away from serving as a pastor and toward running Fight for Something and its affiliated brands. “We’re in the process of broadening our scope; fighting for clean water specific to the Great Lakes. And we’re looking at building out a part of our giving that’s specifically towards conservation efforts around the water specific to Minnesota,” he says.
It’s not difficult to find other nods to local elements within the Northern Glasses brand. From pint glasses celebrating Minnesota’s rich outdoor life at its numerous state parks to posters mapping out the best breweries in the Twin Cities, everything on Northern Glasses’ online store carries hints of home.
Part of the call to be a socially-conscious business, in Reaume’s view, is offering opportunities for other companies to follow suit. “We’re in the process of opening a warehouse that will be creating jobs for homeless youth, doing storage and fulfillment work,” he says. “It’s a quickly growing industry, so part of the hope is that, if we can offer this service, it can help create opportunity for some of these disenfranchised populations right here in the Twin Cities.”
Northern Glasses drinkware, apparel and more can be found at northernglasses.com and at Rose & Loon, Rosedale Shopping Center.