Stein feels fortunate to have made a success of his venture, and credits his employees and the support of the communities where the company operates as key.
“When you’re first starting out, you literally have to make sure the lights stay on and employees get paid,” he said. “You’re just working hard to survive. It’s a nice stage in your business when you can give back.”
C. Stein has long been active in community events and programs, often as a sponsor of craft beer festivals and wine events, supporting the Humane Society in Idaho and Second Chance Companion Pets in Vancouver. The company is also credited with helping the city of Vancouver implement the voluntary ban on sales of fortified beer and wine in the downtown core.
Recalling a hardscrabble youth that saw him leave home at 14 and work his own way through high school and college, Stein has a special place in his heart for kids and education. His company has given $100,000 over the last five years to the Vancouver School Foundation luncheon.
In addition, C. Stein has been active in local school nutrition and back-to-school readiness programs. In partnership with the Clark County Food Bank, the company pledged $75,000 over five years to support the food bank’s Nutrition Education Program. The program seeks to provide families and individuals with skills to plan and prepare nutritious and affordable meals. The company gave $75,000 to a similar food bank program in Boise, Idaho, home of one of the company’s distributorships.
Working with the Vancouver School District and the Vancouver School Foundation, the company has granted $87,500 over the last six years to two programs, according to the company website. One, the “Go Ready” back-to-school readiness festival and resource fair, is designed to help children K-12 get a successful start to the school year.
Stein said about 1,000 school kids attended this year’s festival, which also included free haircuts, dental work and a donation of 400 pairs of shoes for students who needed them.
“It’s a great event and we’re happy to be one of the major sponsors,” said Stein.
The other program, called the “Lunch Buddy Mentoring” program, pairs positive adult role models with at-risk elementary school students starting as early as kindergarten, with many buddy pairs working together for four to six years.
Not surprisingly, the company’s community and philanthropic efforts stem from Stein’s personal desire to give back to the communities that have supported his business, reflected in the company’s mission and core values to be a good corporate citizen.