In August, 2004, Kris Ariel, Colin Flahive, Josh Pollock and Naoko Okano created Salvador’s Food and Beverage Co, Ltd in Kunming, a city in China’s lesser-known southwest. Situated near the borders of Laos, Myanmar and Tibet, Kunming has become an international hub for those trying to get a grasp of the Chinese language or a head start in one the country’s lesser-developed corners. The three Americans and one Japanese partnered up to make their mark in Kunming with original offerings such as quality local coffees, homemade ice creams and other Western treats like fresh baked bagels and cheesecake. Aside from the business piece of the company, the four partners carried a three-fold philosophy into the development of Salvador’s Coffee House: 1, offer its patrons the best possible quality of food, service and atmosphere; 2, succeed without sacrificing a commitment to environmental sustainability by striving to source locally when possible and improve energy efficiency; and 3, offer its workers more than just an employment opportunity and strive to enrich the lives of its workers socially and experientially. In addition to providing safe working conditions and reasonable wages, Salvador’s offers all eighteen of its employees free room and board, profit sharing, paid vacations, health insurance and private English tutors. Salvador’s also closes once every two months for an experiential group activity that has included rock climbing, miniature golf, pottery class, CPR and first aid training, grass skiing and three employee weddings. These outings have solidified the company as something closer to family than business. Salvador’s employees have all been young women from Yunnan’s small farming villages. Many come to Salvador’s with little to no education and no experience with Western foods or Western people. It is always exciting to watch a new employee grow in her first year at Salvador’s from a young “country bumpkin” into a mature and confident young woman with bright dreams and aspirations. The future mission of Salvador’s is to open as many doors to its employees as possible and give them and others like them opportunities that would otherwise not be available. Village Progress came about as a way to reinvest Salvador's ideas and business model into the villages of its workers. VP has since set up small-scale agricultural, health and education initiatives with the goal of improving rural living standards.