|Credit: Springfield News-Leader|
I didn't know Tom Billionis personally, but I had met and talked with him a few times. He occasionally made coffee for me when The Coffee Ethic originally ran the little shop at work. He was vaguely aware of who who my sister and I were via twitter, but we didn't have a friendship.
What I know about Tom Billionis is that he started a small downtown coffee shop that had a huge hand in helping downtown business boom. I grew up in Springfield, so I know that when I was in high school downtown still wasn't an area you wanted to hang out. When I came back after college (in 2008), everything had changed and it was suddenly the place you wanted to hang out. The Coffee Ethic did that. I know it wasn't just them, but it's what brought a lot of us to the downtown scene.
I know that Tom Billionis encouraged small business owners.
I know that Tom Billionis encouraged me even if he didn't do it directly. I want to be a small business owner. The Coffee Ethic has been a major source of inspiration.
I know that Tom Billionis will be missed, not just by his friends and family, but by the community.