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Gem Coffee in City Heights building community through monthly cleanup effort

The owner of Gem Coffee is going above and beyond the call of barista duty.
gem coffee cleanup team
Posted at 9:31 PM, Oct 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-24 00:31:53-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Inside Gem Coffee, a cozy coffee shop located on Euclid Ave. and El Cajon Blvd., it’s the decor and small details that make a big difference.

“With coffee… consistency is key,” said the owner, Marlyn Gonzalez.

Marlyn knows a thing or two about consistency. It’s because she lived in the neighborhood for 13 years that she cares so deeply about it.

“City Heights, being such a diverse community, there are different backgrounds here. I’ve seen people who don’t even speak the same language sit down and try to communicate. So that’s very special,” she said.

Marlyn says she and her customers have noticed a buildup of trash in the surrounding neighborhoods. Now, she organizes a community cleanup once a month.

“We’re able to provide all the tools necessary. Everyone gets trash pickers, safety vests, gloves,” she said.

The cleanup brings together locals of all ages, from high schoolers to seniors.

On their most recent cleanup, Marlyn says they collected 300 pounds of trash and filed eleven ‘Get it Done’ tickets with the city – notifying officials about potential public safety concerns.

Marlyn says it’s not just about cleanup, but about building community. She says bringing people together is why she got into the business in the first place.

“You kind of see those relationships blossom. So that’s very special," Marlyn says.

The next cleanup is planned for early November. You can get updates by following Gem Coffee on Instagram.