Youngstown State University students will get to enjoy fresh fruits, vegetables and health foods in spring 2014 when Common Wealth Inc. opens the Elm Street Cafe.
The Common Wealth Kitchen Incubator of Youngstown has been working hard for the past few months to turn an old bar on Elm Street into the Elm Street Cafe.
In order to help make the cafe open in spring, the Common Wealth Kitchen Incubator made an Indiegogo fundraising website account to help defray the costs of repairs and furnishings for the new cafe.
Christina Perry, a worker for Common Wealth Inc., said that raising money toward the cafe is very important to the Common Wealth, since they are a nonprofit organization.
“The money raised from Indiegogo and other activities will be used to construct the actual cafe. The cafe space is really the only portion of the building that needs renovated,” Perry said. “We had an event in October that raised a little over $7,000, and between Indiegogo and cash donations, we have raised about $2,500 so far.”
The coffee shop was specifically designed for YSU students to study, hangout and enjoy the “rust-belt chic” north side of Youngstown.
Perry said that when they brainstormed the idea to open the cafe, they kept YSU students in mind.
“It’s a terrific location — just blocks from the YSU campus dorms and historic Wick Park,” Perry said. “The Elm Street Cafe will be perfect for community members, college students and folks who work nearby to grab a drink, pick up prepared foods from the adjacent shared-use kitchen and support locally sourced, healthy fair trade eats and drinks.”
Emily Diorio, sophomore political science major, said she is excited about the opening of the cafe in the spring.
“I love going to coffee shops to study and get work done,” Diorio said. “The atmosphere of a little coffee shop will be a change since it is different than everything else we have on campus. I know I will definitely try it out.”
Perry also said they wanted to open the cafe to help local vendors have a place to sell their products.
“It builds on our other food projects and our effort to promote the vendors and get the word out to the community about the unique products they have,” Perry said.
As for the decor, Common Wealth decided to keep the art from the bar that used to reside there to make a cool atmosphere for customers.
Perry said that when they were deciding what to keep, the bar stood out to them.
“We decided to keep a vintage art deco bar that will be transformed into a cool coffee and smoothie bar,” Perry said. “It’ll be really cool to see how it turns out.”
The goal for Common Wealth Inc. is to help new businesses; cooperative opportunities and organizations flourish with their businesses. They also have worked with efforts such as the Northside Farmer’s Market to help bring a wider variety of foods to Youngstown.
Perry said bringing fresh fruits and vegetables for the cafe will be beneficial not only Youngstown, but also YSU students.
“There really isn’t a place to buy fresh foods on campus so we will be selling them here,” Perry said. “We just want to help out in any way we can to those on the YSU campus and in the community.”
Liz Furman, sophomore business finance major, said that the Elm Street Cafe will be perfect for her since she is a vegetarian.
“I love eating healthy, and I go to school straight through the day and not having a lot of options for healthy foods is hard,” Furman said. “This will be great for students to have a healthier option than eating greasy food.”
Jamie Stahl, freshman biology major, said that although she is a commuter student, the cafe would be beneficial to students that live off campus as well as those who live on campus.
“It’ll be good for student to have a place to go for fresh and healthy food instead of all the fast food places around us,” Stahl said. “It’s really hard for college kids to eat healthy, and if a place like this is one campus, it will be a healthy alternative.”