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Worker-owned business to open in Evanston

EVANSTON, Ohio (Rich Jaffe) -- The head of the Interfaith Business Builders organization, Tim Kraus tells Local 12 News, "This is one of the ways that economic development in the city of Cincinnati will really take hold where businesses exist and provide employment opportunities and ownership opportunities for people who have never had that opportunity before."

A brand new coffee shop prepares to open its doors and bring something much more than just coffee to a community where people are hard at work trying to move forward.  It's called the Community Blend Coffee House.  Located on Montgomery Road right alongside I-71 in Evanston, it's the first worker owned coffee shop in Cincinnati.

They'll soon be serving fair trade coffee, tea, chocolate and locally made food.  Local 12's Rich Jaffe  says the shop also enables residents to buy into progress.  In 2012 an unemployed Donald Scott walked into the Evanston Community Resource office and walked out thinking about a dream.  His dream is now reality.

Donald Scott owns a piece of two co-op businesses; one a janitorial service and the other the Community Blend Coffee House.

Rich Jaffe asked him, "Is it different to own a piece of the rock?"

"Yeah," Scott replied, "It's good for the workers to have a piece of the action. There's not a bunch of heavy handed management, everybody is in management so it's great and very empowering."

Each owner/employee of the co-op owns one share of the business.  It's worth about a thousand dollars.  Money to buy the share comes out of their paychecks.  The program was created by the Interfaith Business Builders.  Community Blend will soon be serving fair trade or co-op coffee, tea, chocolate and local food. 

Andrea Costa of the Equal Exchange for Trade Coffee Company explains, "So when they organize in their community with other farmers you don't have two bags of coffee.  You have 200, or 300 or a thousand and that empowers you to have a say and a seat at the table."

Next door at Elesha's Styles Unlimited hair has been hitting the floor for over 40 years.  The stylists and barbers there think their new neighbor's a great addition to the neighborhood.

Barber Joseph Hopewell told Local 12 News, "I feel these businesses coming to the community as long as they interact with the Evanston community it will all be good."

The doors at Community Blend won't officially open for business until Monday morning at 6:30.  However, Rich Jaffe had a sample of their house blend.  It's called 'Mind, Body and Soul."  They tell Jaffe it's creamy and smooth with notes of chocolate.  Rich reports that it is really good!

There's a celebratory grand opening this Sunday at 3p.m. and the public is invited.

Follow Rich Jaffe on Twitter @rajaffeand LIKE him on Facebook




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