Drive-through coffee shops are nothing new in Redmond. But you’ll soon be able to get your daily jolt of caffeine and help a good cause at the same time.
The Redmond-based Opportunity Foundation of Central Oregon is opening a coffee kiosk, which it hopes will be serving before Christmas, outside its Possibilities Thrift Store at 3294 S Highway 97. It is part of an expansion project that will also turn an office building across the parking lot from the thrift store into a separate shop for the nonprofit to sell higher-end antiques and books.
Like the agency’s current thrift stores in Redmond, Bend and Madras, the coffee kiosk and addition will serve as places for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to get on-the-job training.
“We use the thrift store as a place to teach job skills, so they can go get a community job,” said Seth Lewis Johnson, Opportunity Foundation executive director.
The agency is helping pay for the expansion with a federal Community Development Block Grant through the city of Redmond that is designed to be used for training and placement of people, Johnson said.
Putting the bookstore next to the coffee shop made a lot of sense, Johnson said. He doesn’t know of a similar nonprofit setup in Central Oregon.
The Opportunity Foundation previously ran a walk-up coffee stand for about a year-and-a-half at Central Oregon Community College’s Redmond Campus. Johnson said that closed because there wasn’t enough foot traffic. But the agency kept the brewing equipment and hopes that drive-up and walk-up service along the busy highway will be a different story.
“We hope it’s another avenue to offer job training,” Johnson said. “It’s a different set of skills than the thrift store training.”
Along with job training, the coffee kiosk will raise money for the nine homes the Opportunity Foundation maintains for people with disabilities.
Hours for the coffee stand had yet to be determined. Along with espresso drinks, it is expected to serve light food items like hot dogs, bagels and pastries.
Johnson hopes the store will benefit customers, as well as the staff.
“Hopefully, they will learn about our mission,” he said. “There is a lot of information about who we are and what we do. They get a chance to interact with some of the people we serve.”
The three thrift stores have about 140 people with disabilities training there, while another 85 have jobs outside the foundation, Johnson said.
Among the associates is Wayne Browning, who has been working off and on with the Opportunity Foundation since 1998. He said he loves meeting customers and looking to see if they might be interested in hiring him themselves.
“I get to meet them and see if I know them and help them out,” Browning said. “I see what else they want me to do for them.”
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