Starting in 2014, Kitti Murray, founder and CEO of Refuge Coffee Co., began to build the organization "on a promise of providing a safe, multi-ethnic space void of agenda, where refugees are not only employed, but welcomed "home" in the heart of Clarkston," one of the country's most diverse cities."
In its first year of business, Refuge Coffee Co. welcomed more than 100,000 customers from 80 different countries.
"We often say that we do our work with the refugees, not for them. This means we are co-creators in the truest sense," said Murray in a prepared statement. "We're thrilled to be moving into Sweet Auburn, an area that has a vast history regarding social and civic justice, and the struggles so many people face in finding a sense of home within a broader community from which they may be marginalized."
In addition to once being home to Atlanta Daily World starting in the 1930s, the building started as Virgil Coffee Company in 1918 and in the 1940s served as Club Poinciana, a jazz club that welcomed acts such as Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman. In 1944, District V, Atlanta’s first African-American Girl Scout Troop, took up residence on the second floor.
“Coffee, culture, hospitality, advocacy, commerce, and an interest in freedom for all have long been a part of the DNA of this historic location and community,” said Gene Kansas, founder of Gene Kansas | Commercial Real Estate and civic, social and culturally-based shared workspace Constellations, down the street from the new Refuge site.
From 12:30-2:30 p.m. Nov. 20th, Gene Kansas | Commercial Real Estate and Constellations will host a welcoming party featuring international snack and drinks from a variety of Clarkston-based catering companies, several of which are refugee-led.
Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.