Adrift Tiki Bar gets new look, new purpose

Posted at 10:18 PM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-10 00:47:01-04

DENVER -- You may have tried Little Man Ice Cream, had dinner at Root Down or eaten brunch at Linger.

Now, the developer behind all of those iconic shops is starting a new venture, and it is about more than the bottom line; he's hoping to make a difference.

"There used to be a wall here," said Paul Tamburello, pointing out Adrift Tiki Bar & Grill's new look.

But there is also a new purpose -- Tamburello said he bought Adrift, in part, to fund medical and dental trips to developing countries.

There is a similar social mission at his other business, Little Man Ice Cream.

For every scoop of ice cream, he donates a scoop of rice or beans to developing countries all over the world.

"It's not a marketing thing for us. It's just how we operate, and who we are," he said.

It's called social enterprise: a for-profit business that has a second bottom line -- a social mission to benefit a community or the environment.
"We're seeing a large growth in these kinds of organizations," said Cindy Willard with the University of Denver's Impact Finance Center. "I think we’re seeing a blurring of the lines between governments and nonprofits and businesses and who is sort of 'authorized' to make social change."
Willard also said that there has been a generational shift; Millennials expect their businesses to do good, and they invest more in companies that make a difference.
"For a lot of folks, it is a genuine support for the community," said Willard. "We've certainly heard stories of funds being misused or problems being created, but I think that's a much smaller percentage than the upside of things." 
Tamburello said that at Adrift, he plans to dedicate a to-be-determined percentage of profits for philanthropic efforts.
"There are places with no resources," he said. "When a doctor can come in and extract teeth, it can save their life."

"My mom always used to say volunteerism is the price you pay for being human. It's just part of your nature," he added.

The remodeled Adrift Tiki Bar & Grill is set to re-open Sept 15.


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