A nonprofit coffee company that got its start employing unsheltered youth in Southwest Minneapolis farmers markets has finally found a permanent home in Peace Coffee’s cafe space in Longfellow.
Wildflyer Coffee, a Minneapolis nonprofit organization that seeks to provide job and life skills training to youth experiencing homelessness in the Twin Cities, will be taking over the Peace Coffee cafe at 33rd & Minnehaha in December, according to a press release.
“We are beyond excited about this momentous step for Wildflyer Coffee, to not only grow our capacity and employ triple the number of young people than ever before, but to do so in a space that is already so well-loved,” said Carley Kammerer, executive director of Wildflyer Coffee.
Peace Coffee, a Minneapolis-based roaster known for its fair-trade, organic beans and bicycle delivery model, is getting out of the retail business. It closed its Downtown cafes in March with no plans to reopen and will shift focus on the roasting and wholesale side of the business, according to the release.
Wildflyer Coffee has been pursuing a cafe to call its own since June 2019. The nonprofit, which started under the name Gutterpunk Coffee, has been operating at the Linden Hills and Fulton farmers markets in recent years but wanted its own cafe so it can employ more unsheltered youth and give their workers more hours.
Wildflyer employs and educates its workers to help them rise out of poverty
and find more stable lives. The Wildflyer program lasts nine months and focuses
on developing work and life skills through hands-on employment and classroom learning. Workers are educated on the basics of the coffee industry and work in general — appropriate appearance, talking to managers and co-workers, time management, etc. Then youth are enrolled in a personal and professional development course with weekly life skills training sessions.
With Peace Coffee seeking to ease out of retail, it partnered with Wildflyer to run the Minnehaha Avenue cafe. The company will offer training and support to Wildflyer, which will be serving Peace Coffee roasts at the cafe.
“We are honored to partner with Wildflyer to give the business a stable home and to help it pursue its mission of employing homeless youth — especially as homelessness in this very vulnerable population continues to rise during the pandemic,” said Lee Wallace, CEO of Peace Coffee.
3262 Minnehaha Ave.