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As property owners and managers face the ongoing challenge of retaining residents in competitive housing markets, cultivating a strong sense of community has emerged as a powerful and effective solution. 

From setting the stage at move-in to hosting engaging events that continually foster a sense of belonging, turning four walls into a home requires ongoing and intentional effort on the part of on-site teams. 

WithMe recently brought together a panel of multifamily experts to explore this important topic, and we have created an engaging and informative e-book inspired by the dynamic conversation that took place. This valuable resource offers a wealth of effective strategies for building community in multifamily properties.

Here's what's covered:

Combating the Epidemic of Loneliness

Beyond enhancing resident satisfaction, community building addresses a societal issue: loneliness. With loneliness linked to a wide variety of significant health risks, property managers have a unique opportunity to combat the “epidemic of loneliness” by fostering environments of belonging and acceptance. Discover how prioritizing community engagement can contribute to holistic well-being and societal resilience.

Making a Great First Impression

Relationship building should begin at the very first interaction with a prospective resident. Find out how to develop an inviting and engaging tour that not only helps prospective residents envision themselves living in your community, but makes them feel at home before they ever sign a lease. 

Moving into a new apartment can be a transformative and sometimes stressful event, so providing a positive and seamless move-in experience is crucial. Uncover tips for personalizing the process and establishing a strong foundation for a lasting resident-property manager relationship. 

Planning and Executing Memorable Events

Events serve as catalysts for fostering connections among residents. Through careful planning and engagement, property managers can curate events that resonate with a wide array of residents, ultimately contributing to higher satisfaction and retention rates. Discover a host of diverse concepts and themes you can use to plan your own events, as well as incredible third-party vendors that can assist you in taking your planning and execution to the next level.

Building an Online Community

In an increasingly digital world, online platforms serve as invaluable tools for communication and engagement. From texting critical updates to maintaining an active social media presence, on-site teams can leverage digital channels to facilitate connection and collaboration among residents. Find out which platforms today’s tech-savvy residents expect to be able to find you on, as well as valuable third-party vendors that can help you streamline your communication efforts and enhance the resident experience.

Measuring Success 

While quantifying the impact of community-building efforts can be challenging, the positive "halo effects" are undeniable. From increased retention rates to improved online reputation, thoughtful programming yields tangible benefits for multifamily properties. Gain insight on how to effectively gauge the response to your efforts and refine your strategies to ensure ongoing success in enhancing community living.Through personalized experiences, engaging events and digital connectivity, multifamily properties can foster environments where residents thrive.

By embracing the principles outlined in this e-book, property managers can elevate community living and drive long-term success.

Move over winter, spring, summer and fall. In multifamily, the heavy hitters are budget season and peak leasing season. 

A staggering 70% of moves occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day, creating a three-month frenzy of online inquiries, tours, screenings, applications, move-ins and move-outs. 

This demanding and pivotal point of the year requires careful planning and strategic execution to maximize occupancy rates and rental income. And the time to prepare is now. 

In this blog, we'll explore essential strategies and tactics that can help lay the groundwork for a successful peak leasing season.

Conduct thorough market research.

Well before peak leasing season arrives, it is essential to conduct comprehensive market research. Analyze local economic trends, employment data, population growth and housing market dynamics to gain insight into the rental landscape. Understanding market conditions sets the foundation for setting competitive rental prices and tailoring marketing strategies effectively.

Also consider touring other multifamily properties in your area to find out what amenities, services and upgrades are available to renters in the market. This can help you find strategic ways to stand out from the competition. 

Tackle routine maintenance. 

Preventive maintenance not only enhances property safety and appeal but also demonstrates a commitment to resident comfort and satisfaction.

Quiet winter months present the perfect time to tackle these tasks, which can include: 

One of the most effective ways to identify safety hazards, critical repairs and improvement opportunities is to tour your own property. Think like a prospective resident. Be cognizant of even the smallest cosmetic improvements that could make a big difference to someone seeing your community for the first time. 

Audit your online presence. 

Thorough and attention-grabbing online listings will exponentially increase your inquiries and the likelihood you’ll fill vacancies. Invest significant time and effort into elevating your digital presence, both on your own channels and on third-party rental platforms. 

Start by evaluating all of your existing listings for accuracy. This includes your own website and social media profiles. Is all of your contact information still accurate? Is your list of amenities up-to-date? Has your pricing changed? 

Next, ask your friends and family where they’re searching for rentals. In our technology-driven world, the methods people use to find new homes constantly shifts and evolves. 

On every platform, thoroughly and vividly describe each available unit, leverage high-quality media and highlight the features that make your property stand out from the competition.

During peak leasing season and beyond, it’s imperative to actively engage with prospects and residents on digital platforms. Respond to all inquiries promptly and make it a point to make everyone feel important.

Update physical collateral. 

Chances are, you still leverage a few key pieces of physical collateral in your marketing efforts. Take time to conduct a thorough audit of all of it:

Make sure all information is accurate and up-to-date, including: 

Finally, make sure you have adequate quantities of everything on hand well in advance of the busy spring and summer months. 

Review and modify lease agreements. 

Clear and transparent lease agreements contribute to positive resident experiences and mitigate potential disputes during the leasing process.

To mitigate the risk of a lawsuit, carefully review leasing and addenda language to ensure it complies with current legal requirements and best practices - especially as they relate to fair housing standards. To ensure compliance, check federal and state online resources or consult an attorney. 

Carefully inspect model unit(s). 

With a constant stream of people flowing in and out of your model unit, wear and tear is inevitable. Ahead of peak leasing season, make sure everything in your model is in pristine condition and perfect working order. Make repairs as necessary, and also update decor to fit current design trends and aesthetics.

Elevate your amenities. 

Amenities are one of the primary ways to grab the attention of prospects, but the right ones continue to bring value after move-in, increasing satisfaction and retention. 

As you’re evaluating new amenities ahead of peak leasing, don’t underestimate the power of some of the more unassuming ones, like a community printer. The Wall Street Journal said it best - no one wants a printer, but everyone wants to print. Tech-enabled solutions like PrintWithMe empower residents to print from their own devices, on their own time. In a recent survey, 82% of residents said they considered it an “essential” amenity at their property. Who knew a small amenity could make such a big difference?

Also consider replacing amenities with uncontrollable or skyrocketing costs (let’s be honest - that’s usually the coffee machine). Thankfully, new solutions tailored to the needs of multifamily, like SipWithMe, can simultaneously elevate the resident experience while controlling costs and reducing OpEx.  

For expert guidance and perspective on selecting amenities, tune in to WithMe’s upcoming webinar, “Amenities Your Residents Will LOVE.” Experts from Bozzuto, Draper and Kramer, and Asset Living will be weighing in on the amenities today’s residents expect, as well as the ones poised to shape the future. 

And if you’ve ever been curious about how tech-enabled amenities can make a difference in your community, check out how they delivered convenience, satisfaction and cost savings at four luxury properties. 

Curate your event calendar. 

If you haven’t had an opportunity to fill your 2024 calendar with thoughtfully curated resident events, late winter is the perfect time to solidify your strategy. 

Not only is a calendar brimming with events an incredible tool for attracting new residents, it also helps exponentially increase resident satisfaction and retention. 

If you need inspiration, check out our e-book, “Home Is Where Your Apartment Is: Building Community to Enhance Resident Retention.” It offers a host of diverse concepts and themes that you can leverage for in-house planning, as well as a robust list of third-party vendors that can assist you in taking your planning and execution to the next level.

Level up your landscaping. 

You only have one chance to make a first impression. Don’t underestimate the value of making the exterior of your property just as inviting and well-appointed as the interior. 

If your grounds are beautiful and impeccably maintained, prospects will immediately recognize that you take pride in your property and are committed to ensuring it is always in optimal condition. 

Lean into AI and Automation. 

Relationship building is essential in property management, but thoughtful implementation of automation and AI, especially in back-end processes, has the power to increase operational efficiency and make the leasing process better for everyone. 

Take applications. Automating the application process eliminates the need for manual paperwork that is prone to human error, and it gives prospective residents the freedom to complete it on their own time. 

The approval process is another area where human error can create bottlenecks and costly errors. New technology efficiently, objectively and accurately screens prospective residents, effectively eliminating bias and non-compliance with fair housing laws.  

Embrace virtual touring in its many forms. 

With so many prospective residents conducting their initial searches online, visually appealing digital content can make a significant impact. Capture the essence of your multifamily property through immersive virtual tours, sweeping drone footage and captivating professional photography.

Empower prospective residents to assess your property on their own time by investing in digital leasing tools that facilitate virtual showings and video walkthroughs. 

Thanks to apps like TikTok and Snapchat, younger generations have become accustomed to consuming content via video. To meet these renters where they are, it’s imperative to develop a presence on these apps - and get creative!

Train and prepare your staff.

Equip your on-site team with the necessary training and resources to handle the increased demand during peak leasing season. Conduct refresher training sessions on leasing procedures and customer service skills to ensure a seamless experience for prospective residents. Empower your staff to address inquiries efficiently and provide personalized assistance to enhance satisfaction.

By implementing these strategies now and staying ahead of the curve, you'll be well-positioned to not only survive but thrive during peak leasing season and beyond!

There are numerous business advantages to vertical integration in multifamily, like increased control over the supply chain, improved efficiency and enhanced customer experience. 

However, it also poses unexpected challenges, like preserving company culture. As companies expand vertically, and their workforce becomes dispersed across various locations, maintaining a unified and cohesive culture becomes a nuanced task.

Consider the following questions:

In a recent episode of the "Multifamily Excellence" podcast, WithMe Founder and CEO Jonathan Treble interviews Matt Fiascone, president of The Habitat Company, digging into the intricacies of preserving culture in vertically integrated companies.

Habitat, based in Chicago, is a full-service real estate company managing a diverse portfolio of property types, from affordable housing communities to luxury high-rise towers. With over 16,000 units, they operate across the United States.

As a vertically integrated company, Habitat employs over 700 people. Roughly 90 of them are corporate employees, primarily based in the Chicago office, with a few in the regional office in Detroit. The vast majority, approximately 90% of the company, is situated in the field, across various sites.

So, how do you preserve a unified culture across such diverse work environments?

Defining Vertical Integration in Multifamily

Before we delve into the intricacies of preserving culture, let's define vertical integration in the context of real estate. Vertical integration refers to the ownership and operation of various stages of the real estate investment and development process within a single company. 

This includes activities such as property management, development, construction and investment. By controlling multiple aspects of the real estate process, vertically integrated companies aim to streamline operations, reduce costs and enhance overall efficiency.

Strategies for Cultivating Unity

Both Matt and Jonathan emphasize the significance of intentional effort in building and sustaining a cohesive culture. While challenges may arise in preserving culture across diverse habitats, strategic solutions can foster unity. Let’s delve into these strategies.

Advice #1: Overcoming Physical Barriers

Maintaining cultural aspects in field environments, where digital interactions may not always be feasible, poses a unique challenge. Acknowledging these limitations is the first step toward innovative solutions that bridge the cultural gap. 

While certain cultural traditions may seem impractical in the field, this challenge presents an opportunity for innovation. Explore alternative ways to celebrate holidays, incorporate dress codes or address hot-button cultural issues. By adapting traditions to suit the unique dynamics of field environments, a more inclusive and unified culture can be fostered.

Advice #2: Seamless Communication Channels

Establishing effective communication channels between corporate and field teams is crucial for maintaining cultural alignment. Implement platforms and tools that facilitate transparent and frequent communication, allowing both sides to stay connected and informed about company values, updates and initiatives.

Advice #3: Inclusive Decision-Making Processes

Foster a sense of belonging by involving field teams in decision-making processes. Solicit their input on matters that impact them directly, creating a culture of inclusivity where everyone feels their voice is heard and valued.

Concluding Thoughts

In vertically integrated multifamily companies, preserving culture is both a challenge and an opportunity. By acknowledging the nuances of diverse work environments and implementing strategic solutions, organizations can foster unity and success.

Want to learn more about preserving culture in vertically integrated companies? Listen to the full episode of Multifamily Excellence on your preferred platform. Don't forget to leave a review and subscribe to stay updated on future episodes!

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Every champion has a secret weapon, and some of the most powerful tools in multifamily are programmatic, self-serve amenities.

Thousands of property managers across the country partner with WithMe to give their properties a competitive advantage through tech-enabled resident amenities that make the lives of staff and residents easier.

Read four stories of how property managers took their communities to the next level using WithMe amenities to deliver convenience, satisfaction and cost savings.

Welcome to Black History Month! This annual observance, which takes place throughout the month of February, provides an opportunity to reflect on the profound impact that African-Americans have had on history, culture, science, politics and countless other facets of human achievement.

Black History Month traces its roots back to 1926 and the pioneering efforts of Carter G. Woodson. During the second week of February, to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, Woodson initiated a week-long celebration dedicated to showcasing the achievements of Black Americans. Over the years, his celebration evolved into the month-long observance we recognize today, serving as a platform to amplify the stories, struggles, triumphs and contributions of African-American individuals throughout history.

To mark the occasion, we thought it would be fitting to honor African-American innovators who have made noteworthy contributions to our two passions - printing and coffee

Black Inkfluence on Printing

George Washington Carver: Ink Inventor

Born into slavery in the 1860s, George Washington Carver bravely rose above his tumultuous childhood and earned a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State Agricultural College. He went on to earn a Master of Science and lead the agricultural department at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. 

After the Civil War, fields in the South were practically barren from years of solely growing cotton, leaving the economy in ruins. Passionate about improving the economic condition of the region’s impoverished farmers, Carver encouraged them to plant legumes to restore nitrogen levels in the soil and provide a potent source of protein for their diets.

While the plants thrived, there was little market demand for the harvested produce. Consequently, Carver undertook the task of innovating new and lucrative applications for the crops. His efforts yielded an astonishing 325 novel uses for the peanuts, sweet potatoes and soybeans cultivated by the farmers — among them, the unexpected creation of printer ink!

Carver’s ink was composed of cowpeas, sweet potatoes, soybeans and peanuts. Today, based on his innovative formula, most oil-based printer ink still leverages linseed or soybean oil as a solvent to combine pigments, and the ink dries through evaporation. 

William A. Lavalette: Printing Press Pioneer

Unfortunately, very little is known about William A. Lavalette, the inventor behind two separate patents focused on printing press innovations. 

Patent 208184 offered critical improvements to the printing press, and Patent 208208 outlined Lavalette’s own visionary variation of the technology. 

In 1878, the year he was awarded his patents, Lavalette was living in the northeast. He passed away on January 9, 1914, at the age of 73.

Clatonia Joaquin Dorticus: Photo Development Deviser

Born in 1863, and believed to be of Afro-Cuban descent, Clatonia Joaquin Dorticus revolutionized the photographic print and negative wash machine. 

During the development process, photographs and negatives had to be soaked in chemical baths. To neutralize the chemicals and control the time they impacted the print, a wash had to be applied. Unfortunately, it was easy to “overwash” prints, leaving them with a dulled appearance. 

Dorticus set out to design a machine that helped prevent the “softened or dulled” effect produced by overwashing, while also improving the “permanency of the negatives” and preventing “tearing and bruising of the photographs.” His washer provided “continuous movement of the pictures during washing,” which kept prints from sticking to the side of the tank. It even helped conserve water, thanks to automatic registers and shut off. The tank’s removable bottom helped further protect the prints and negatives from any residual chemicals and sediments. 

Dorticus also patented a photo embossing machine, designed to give photographs a 3D effect, where “an equal pressure” was “distributed over the entire surface of the photographic film.” It “operated with ease and rapidity” and was the “embodiment of simplicity, strength, and durability which can be produced at a very small cost.” 

Elements of both of Dorticus’ patents were cited in new ones for decades to come. 

Contributions of Black Coffee Connoisseurs

Though painful to discuss, it is a well-known fact that the first coffee exported to North America and Europe was harvested by slaves. As time went on, enslaved Africans were responsible for preparing and serving coffee for their slave owners. Despite the significant role the African diaspora played in coffee’s history, very little is known about the Black leaders and innovators who undoubtedly shaped its trajectory. 

Even today, African-Americans are vastly underrepresented in the coffee industry, and research shows they are far less likely than other ethnic groups to select coffee as their preferred beverage. 

Thankfully, there’s one woman on a mission to uncover the trailblazers of the past and improve representation in the future. 

Phyllis Johnson: Coffee Crusader

Phyllis Johnson, founder and president of BD Imports, a socially responsible coffee importer, has been working tirelessly to identify and raise awareness about Black changemakers in coffee’s history, as well as bolster African-American involvement in today’s coffee scene. 

Her 2018 article, “Strong Black Coffee,” is a must-read. It offers important and eye-opening perspectives from 14 different African-American professionals in the coffee industry, as well as valuable insight on how to effectively improve representation and visibility.  

The article also chronicles Johnson’s quest to uncover the Black innovators and visionaries who have made important contributions to coffee throughout history. She spotlights one particularly brave and endeavoring soul, Rose Nicause, who managed to single-handedly pave the way for African-Americans (and women) in coffee. 

Rose Nicause: Early Entrepreneur

Rose Nicaud was a pioneering enslaved woman who set up what is believed to be the very first mobile coffee shop near the New Orleans French Market. Over time, Nicaud sold enough coffee to not only purchase her freedom, but to move into a permanent shop. 

Her success inspired other enslaved women to create their own coffee blends and ultimately led to the growth of coffee shops throughout the city.

Thankfully, as of late, some incredible new African-American leaders have emerged in the world of coffee, furthering the groundwork laid by Nicause and Johnson. 

Bartholomew Jones and Renata Henderson: Coffee Couple

Started by Bartholomew Jones and Renata Henderson, a husband and wife duo, Memphis-based Cxffeblack is working diligently to shed light on coffee’s dark history. The brand was inspired by Jones’ keen observation that coffee shops are teeming with coffee from predominantly Black countries - but rarely attract Black customers. 

Cxffeeblack strategically employs an all-Black supply chain, and Jones’ intention is “to redistribute the wealth from the profits in that coffee back into Black communities globally to help redistribute a lot of the wealth that was taken from our ancestors.”

Henderson oversees the roasting in a nod to Ethiopian tradition, where women have served as roasters and baristas for thousands of years - a fact that has virtually gone unknown until now. Memphis’ first Black female roaster, Henderson actually traveled to Ethiopia to hone her craft.

For more on Cxffeeblack, check out their official documentary and feature in COOL HUNTING.  

As we embark on this month-long journey of reflection and education, let us commit ourselves to fostering a deeper understanding of the Black experience, acknowledging the resilience, creativity and perseverance that has shaped and continues to shape our world. By recognizing and appreciating the achievements of Black pioneers, leaders and visionaries, we move towards a more inclusive and equitable future for all.

Multifamily proptech company brings its innovative coffee amenity to Nashville, with Frothy Monkey Roasting Co. serving as exclusive roaster partner. 

Chicago - (February 8, 2024) SipWithMe debuts in Nashville this week, offering multifamily properties access to an advanced bean-to-cup amenity featuring locally roasted coffee from Frothy Monkey Roasting Co.

SipWithMe not only transforms the coffee experience for residents, it also reduces operating expenses by up to 60%. Stocked with three craft roasted coffee blends, SipWithMe machines can brew more than 20 different hot beverages in less than 60 seconds. Residents can easily customize and order drinks via electronic devices or a built-in HD screen.

In Nashville, all SipWithMe devices will feature three meticulously chosen blends: Brute, Howler and 12South.

“Frothy Monkey Roasting Co. is the perfect partner for us in Nashville,” says Jim Carbone, Vice President of Operations at WithMe, Inc. “Our collaboration reflects a shared commitment to making lives better through exceptional coffee experiences.”

With a deep-rooted passion for coffee, Frothy Monkey Roasting Co. has become a staple in the Nashville coffee scene, offering specialty grade, ethically sourced coffee roasted to perfection. Each cup of Frothy Monkey Roasting Co. coffee embodies their love for the communities they serve, their farming partners and the planet we all share. 

“We're excited to team up with SipWithMe to bring our coffee to multifamily properties in Nashville,” says Ryan Bledsoe, Education Director and Coffee Service Tech Manager at Frothy Monkey Roasting Co. “SipWithMe's dedication to quality and service mirrors our own values, and we look forward to enriching Nashville’s coffee culture together.”

Apart from Nashville, SipWithMe serves multifamily properties across dozens of markets across the United States, including most major metros. 

About Frothy Monkey Roasting Co. 

Frothy Monkey Roasting Co. is a Nashville coffee roaster serving wholesale and individual coffee customers with ethically sourced, specialty grade coffee and professional coffee services. Committed to excellence and sustainability, Frothy Monkey Roasting Co. takes pride in sourcing high-quality beans from around the world and meticulously roasting them to perfection. Whether supplying cafes, restaurants, or individuals, Frothy Monkey Roasting Co. is dedicated to delivering exceptional coffee experiences while supporting ethical practices throughout the supply chain. For more information about Frothy Monkey and its range of coffee offerings and services, visit www.frothymonkey.com/coffee.

About WithMe, Inc.

WithMe, Inc. makes people's lives better every day through convenient, technology-powered amenities for the multifamily industry and beyond. WithMe’s PrintWithMe and SipWithMe solutions make resident printing and coffee simple, helping property management leaders deliver an elevated living experience and meet evolving resident needs for remote/hybrid work spaces, while simultaneously decreasing spend, controlling costs and saving time for staff. PrintWithMe powers printer amenities and staff solutions at thousands of multifamily, cafe and coworking locations across all 50 states. SipWithMe, which is now available in major markets, is disrupting the coffee amenity category. WithMe is an Inc. 5000 fastest growing company, appearing on the list for the past three consecutive years, as well as a 2023 Inc. Power Partner. Learn more at www.withme.com

EPISODE SUMMARY

In this episode of Multifamily Excellence, Matt Fiascone, president of The Habitat Company, offers intriguing insight into his illustrious career.  

Starting with his serendipitous foray into the real estate industry, Matt recounts his journey through the evolution of asset management - from manual, paper-based processes to today’s sophisticated digital tools - emphasizing the necessity of adapting, learning and staying current with technological advancements. 

Matt also discusses the transformative impact mentorship has had on his career, both as a mentee and a mentor. He calls on other real estate leaders to guide the next generation and foster a culture of continuous learning and growth.

Throughout the episode, Matt lends insight into his personal leadership philosophies. He offers a powerful and fascinating narrative on crisis leadership, explaining how shared sacrifice, solidarity and foresight successfully kept his team together and prevented layoffs during the pandemic. Additionally, he presents a wealth of effective strategies for preserving culture in vertically integrated companies with highly dispersed teams. 

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As property owners and managers face the ongoing challenge of retaining residents in competitive housing markets, cultivating a strong sense of community has emerged as a powerful and effective solution.

This e-book, inspired by a webinar hosted by WithMe, includes valuable insight and effective strategies for turning four walls into a home.

Coffee saves lives! 

It may seem like an overly dramatic statement, but believe it or not, your morning coffee could be positively impacting your health! 

Beyond its delightful taste and the immediate energy boost it provides, scientific studies have uncovered a wealth of health benefits associated with America’s favorite morning beverage. Nutrition experts at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine note that coffee is a rich source of antioxidants, and it also contains many other active substances that result in much more than just a quick pick-me-up. 

Without further ado, let's delve into the top health benefits of drinking coffee and how it contributes to a longer (and happier) life. 

Coffee can lengthen lifespans. 

In 2017, the British Medical Association's BMJ published the results of an extensive analysis of nearly 220 research studies on coffee. Researchers determined that coffee drinkers were 17% less likely to die early from any cause than non-coffee drinkers. 

In 2022, The Annals of Internal Medicine corroborated those 2017 findings, publishing research that correlated moderate consumption of unsweetened and sugar-sweetened coffee with a lower risk for death. Participants who drank 1.5 - 3.5 cups of coffee per day had a 30% lower risk of death from any cause during the study.  

Coffee can stave off Type 2 diabetes. 

Coffee may play a pivotal role in enhancing the body's processing of glucose, or sugar. 

One review of 30 independent research studies found that each cup of coffee consumed per day lowered the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 6%. 

A 2014 Harvard study that tracked nearly 124,000 people revealed that over a four-year period, participants who increased their coffee intake by more than 1 cup a day had an 11% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Participants who decreased their intake by 1 cup per day had a 17% higher risk of developing the disease.

Why? Studies have found coffee preserves the function of the beta cells in the pancreas, which produce the insulin responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. The antioxidants in coffee may also directly impact insulin sensitivity, inflammation and metabolism — all of which contribute to the onset of the disease. 

Coffee can both prevent and delay Parkinson's Disease. 

Coffee consumption not only lowers the likelihood of developing Parkinson's, it also has substantial health benefits for those already diagnosed. The caffeine in coffee may help slow the progression of the disease, and in 2012, research published by the American Academy of Neurology revealed a daily dose of caffeine equivalent to two 8 oz. cups of black coffee can help control the involuntary movements characteristic of the disease. 

Coffee can improve DNA strength. 

Dark roast coffee emerges as a hero in DNA maintenance. 

In a study published by the The European Journal of Nutrition, a test group drank 500 milliliters of dark roast coffee per day, while the control group consumed water. On the last day of each period, blood tests assessed the level of DNA strand breakage. The coffee drinkers had significantly fewer strand breaks compared to the water drinkers. 

Similarly, a 2011 article in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research revealed that drinking 750 milliliters of coffee reduced natural DNA breakage by one-third, and that reduction continued several hours later.

Coffee can prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. 

In a 2012 study published in The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, researchers tested the blood caffeine levels in seniors with mild cognitive impairments (MGI), a potential precursor to severe dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Over a 2-4 year period, participants whose initial blood levels contained caffeine amounts equivalent to about three cups of coffee were far less likely to have progressed to full-blown dementia, and none of them converted to Alzheimer’s. 

Coffee can lower the risk of stroke. 

The aforementioned BMJ report revealed that consuming 3 cups of coffee a day results in a 30% lower risk of stroke. 

A similar review of 21 studies showed that drinking 3-5 cups of coffee daily was associated with a 21% lower risk of stroke. 

Coffee can improve heart health. 

In 2021, the American Heart Association published the results of a study focused on data from three top heart disease studies: the Framingham Heart Study, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study and the Cardiovascular Health Study. Researchers found that drinking 1 or more cups of caffeinated coffee each day significantly reduced a person's long-term risk of heart failure. 

An exhaustive 2023 review of literature published on the link between coffee consumption and cardiovascular disease led researchers to report that moderate coffee consumption leads to a decrease in all-cause and cardiovascular-related mortality, hypertension, cholesterol, heart failure and atrial fibrillation.

Researchers hypothesize that coffee helps to improve blood vessel control over flow and pressure.

Coffee can reduce the risk of melanoma. 

In 2015, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of a study that observed the coffee-drinking habits of more 447,000 people over a decade. Participants who drank 4 or more cups of caffeinated coffee each day had a 20% lower risk of developing melanoma than those who drank decaf or no coffee at all.

Coffee can lower the risk of depression. 

In an analysis of seven studies that included 330,677 participants, researchers found a 24% reduced risk of depression when comparing the highest (4.5 cups/day) to lowest (<1 cup) coffee intakes. They also found an 8% decreased risk of depression with each additional cup of coffee consumed. 

A study following 263,923 retirees found that those who drank 4 or more cups of coffee a day were almost 10% less likely to become depressed than those who drank none.

Coffee can improve social health. 

Studies have shown that holding a hot beverage substantially increases feelings of connectedness and trust. Read all about it in our recent blog

The evidence is compelling – your morning cup of coffee might be doing more for you than just waking you up. From warding off neurodegenerative diseases to improving mental health, coffee has become a surprising ally in our quest for a healthier and happier life. 

The next time you savor that steaming cup of joe, know that you're not just indulging in a delightful ritual but also contributing to your overall well-being.

A truly exceptional coffee amenity not only has the power to deliver these life-saving health benefits in the form of a great beverage, but it can also transform every facet of multifamily living. Learn more about how SipWithMe can help you elevate your resident experience, decrease your operating expenses and build a stronger community.

As purveyors of printing, we were excited to learn that there was an entire “holiday” devoted to an unsung hero of our industry - printing ink! 

In this blog, we’ll delve into the origins of the holiday, the evolution of printing and the difference between printer and toner. 

An Elusive History

Very little information exists about the origins of National Printing Ink Day, but it’s rumored to have started back in 1977. As legend has it, the goal was to not only recognize the pivotal role that ink plays in the printing industry, but to recognize the ink manufacturers, printers and designers responsible for creating the printed materials we use on a daily basis.

As Ronald C. Barker, former president of the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAIPM), so eloquently noted: 

“Today, in this era of satellites, television and electronic message transmission, it is still the printed word and picture to which our society turns for permanence, for clarity, for study and for continued use and enjoyment. We, in NAPIM, look to the talented, career-minded young people in our printing colleges and technical institutes to carry on the standards of value, quality and service which has been maintained by the printing ink industry over the years."

Though unclear if it was intentional, Printing Ink Day very fittingly falls in the middle of International Printing Week. A thinly veiled celebration of the birthday of Benjamin Franklin, International Printing Week was the brainchild of the International Association of Printing House Craftsman (IAPHC). 

Launched in 1944, International Printing Week used to be observed by printing clubs and printers around the country. The occasion would be marked with special activities, public events, newspaper articles and even lavish dinner parties. The IAPHC often issued special stamps for envelopes, posters and books to support the weeklong celebration.

Over the years, the celebrations have, naturally, evolved. Today, university art departments and graphic industry experts use the week as an opportunity to  celebrate their work and share new innovations.

A Brief History of Printing

Printing has quite a long and illustrious history. Let’s take a quick look at how we’ve gotten to where we are today. 

Woodblock Printing

Woodblock printing is cited as the earliest form of printing. It was developed in China in roughly 200 A.D. As implied by its name, woodblock printing involves carving a design into a block of wood, inking the raised part, placing paper on top and applying pressure to create an image. The invention of this process marked the first time in recorded history that a design could be accurately and efficiently replicated. 

Movable Type

Also developed in China, movable type became popular in 1041. Specifically used to print script, movable type gave printers the flexibility to configure individual letters in any order. The first tiles were made from clay. 

Printing Press

A household name in printing, Johann Gutenberg invented the game-changing printing press in 1440. Leveraging the concepts of movable type and woodblock printing, Gutenberg managed to successfully consolidate the two processes into a single hand-operated device. The printing press dramatically increased the speed at which printed materials could be produced, bringing a new level of knowledge to all classes. The bible was the first book Gutenberg mass produced, and in 1455, he churned out a staggering 180 copies. 

Etching

The next phase of printing came in 1515 in the form of etching, a process inspired by Middle Ages armour decorating. To create an etched print, a plate made from copper or zinc is coated in an acid-resistant substance (Etching Ground) and drawn on with a sharp tool. The plate then receives an acid bath, removing any areas not protected by Etching Ground. Paper is placed on the plate and sent through a press to create a print. 

Lithography

Still in use today, lithography hit the scene in the 1790s. This technique involves drawing an image onto limestone with an oil-based medium and then covering the stone with acacia-based gum. The solution is then removed with lithographic turpentine,  and the ink only takes where it’s required.

Offset Printing

A process virtually unchanged to this day, offset printing was introduced in 1875. Ink is transferred from a plate to a rubber blanket to the printing surface. In tandem with lithography, offset printing is commonly used today to produce magazines, posters and large format prints.

Screen Printing

Screen printing was actually developed by the Chinese between 960 - 1279 A.D., but wasn’t widely adopted until the 1910s. In this process, ink is pushed through a mesh stencil onto textiles or paper. 

Inkjet Printing

The advent of inkjet printing in 1951 eliminated the need for direct paper contact, as  ink is applied through jet spray. 

Laser Printing

Leveraging the jet technology of 1951, laser printing was Introduced in 1969. It produces high-quality images by passing a laser beam back and forth over a negatively charged cylinder within the printer. The printer then collects electrically charged powdered ink to transfer the image to the paper. 

Digital Printing

Making its debut in 1991, digital printing made it possible to print directly from a digital file – and subsequently made home printers a viable option. 

Now that we’ve made our way back to present day, let’s delve into the ingredients of modern printing techniques - ink and toner! 

The Great Debate: Printing Ink vs. Toner

Though the two terms are often used interchangeably, and both are used in printing, ink and toner are vastly different. 

Ink is a liquid composed of water, chemicals and colorants, and it’s used exclusively in inkjet printers. To apply ink to paper, inkjet printers emit very small amounts of ink through tiny nozzles and onto the paper as it passes through. 

Inkjet printers typically have the ability to print in black and full color, and they use several cartridges at one time (black, cyan, magenta, yellow). 

Toner, on the other hand, is a very fine, statically charged powder made of organic compounds and polymers. Used in the laser printing process, toner is fused onto a page. An electrostatic template of a printout is created by a laser on an internal drum, and when toner is released, it clings to all areas that are electrostatically charged. When paper passes over the drum, the image is imposed. Laser printers are two to three times faster than inkjet printers, making them a great choice for text-based documents. 

In general, toner has a longer life cycle than ink, and it tends to be more expensive. 

This concludes your crash course on printing! 

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