From sketching out the business plan for Equator Coffees & Teas with partner Brooke McDonnell on the back of a napkin at a Starbucks in 1992 to garnering 2016 Small Business Person of the Year for California – the first time in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 63-year history that it has selected lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) business owners – Mill Valley resident and Equator co-founder Helen Russell has been on quite a ride.

That journey took on even high stakes in 2013, when the couple had to deal with the fallout from the decision by Pascal Rigo, owner of the chain of 19 La Boulange cafes, for which Equator was the coffee roaster, to sell his business to Starbucks, thus ending the 13-year La Boulange-Equator relationship and gutting 12 percent of Equator’s revenue.

Russell and Equator’s journey will be the subject of the latest “Pop-In Happy Hour,” a gathering hosted by Two Neat co-owner Bob Bijou at Two Neat at 111 Throckmorton Ave. on Friday, June 1, from 5-7pm. 

“It’s an opportunity to spend time with old friends and new ones at Two Neat,” Bijou says. “Bring a bottle of your favorite beverage and a glass. Mix and mingle, chat and bingle.”

The 411: The latest “Pop-In Happy Hour” from Bob Bijou of Two Neat, this time celebrating the work of Equator Coffees & Teas‘ co-founder Helen Russell, is set for Friday, June 1, 5-7pm, at Two Neat at 111 Throckmorton Ave.

Want to know what’s happening around town? Click here to subscribe to the Enjoy Mill Valley Blog by Email!