Strawberry Fields’ new coffee shop has found a home in State College’s Hamilton Plaza.
The untitled java joint — made possible by a $100,000 grant from the Centre Foundation — is eying a summer 2018 opening. It will have a fully integrated staff that includes employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.
Cynthia Pasquinelli, Strawberry Fields chief executive officer, said that the nonprofit has already been bombarded with inquiries from members of the special needs community.
“We’re very excited about it and working frantically to make it happen sooner rather than later,” Pasquinelli said.
The completed shop will be able to comfortably seat between 40-50 customers. Aside from coffee, the still developing menu might also include breakfast pastries and light sandwiches.
Taproot Kitchen, an initiative that engages people with intellectual disabilities in the culinary arts, will also provide some of the food.
Strawberry Fields brought on Sharyn Angle to serve as project manager. Angle and her husband run the Food for Thought food truck and so far the experience has translated nicely to running an upstart coffee shop.
Her goal is for the employees to use the work experience as a springboard to bigger and better things.
“My goal is to make it so that I do have an employment problem,” Angle said.
By Frank Ready
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