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Mainstrasse Business to Donate Tips to Charity

When owners Charles Killian and Chip Adkins opened Pipers Café in September 2012, they never dreamed they would be offered so many tips. They abhor tip jars, and not accepting tips was an important part of the business model, by choice.

"We think tips are very important for hard working servers whose living depends on them. We are a walk up, take away service," Killian said. "We make a fair profit on what we charge, and that's all we need. Besides, we think tipping should be private, between you and the person you tip, instead of on public display."

As Piper's customer base grew, it became increasingly difficult to explain this policy, Killian said, and some customers actually seemed put-off by the refusal to accept tips, especially when offered as appreciation after finishing their meal in Piper's picturesque outdoor seating area.

Killian realized something should be done to allow these kind gestures to be accepted in the same spirit they were offered. So, it was decided that any extra money offered by customers would be taken, and donated to charity.

After chatting with others about the idea, one of the regular customers suggested a local organization called, Girls On The Run (Cincinnati), whose mission is to provide pre-adolescent girls with fun programs of exercise and life skills. It seemed like the perfect fit for a nutrition conscious, fun food operation like Piper's.

Substituting the GOTR collection can for a tip jar has been a success. Piper's wrote a check for $150 to Girls On The Run this summer - enough to sponsor one girl through an entire program.  Another check for $300 was just sent, thanks largely to many generous patrons at this year’s MainStrasse Oktoberfest.

As a result of this community outreach, Piper's has recently learned that teachers for the Covington school system have been conducting similar programs for youth in the city where Piper's makes its home. The owners of Piper's are looking forward to helping with that effort, as well as continuing to support Girls On The Run Cincinnati.

"This is the way good business works - give back to the community that supports you, and they will build an ever increasing circle of support with you. It's great for all of us," Killian said.

Piper's Cafe is located at 520 West Sixth Street at Hamelin Square in Mainstrasse Village

Photo: Piper's Cafe/RCN file