Refuge Coffee Co. closing its Sweet Auburn location



The Sweet Auburn location of local Refuge Coffee Co. is closing this week after almost three years.

The non-profit coffee shop, which opened in February 2020 at 145 Auburn Ave., will shutter Sept. 23. The building was previously the longtime home to the country’s longest-running African-American daily newspaper, the Atlanta Daily World.

The Sweet Auburn shop was negatively impacted by the financial effects of the pandemic, founder Kitti Murray said. The decision to “leave a beloved place” came after “much deliberation from Refuge Coffee leadership committed to choose hard things that maintain the health of the entire organization,” according to a press release.

“We are sad to go, but we leave having been truly blessed by our time here and hopeful for how this decision will positively affect our trainees, baristas and staff, as well as our mission to extend welcome across Atlanta,” Murray said in a prepared statement.

Refuge began in 2015 in Clarkston with the mission of providing employment and job training to refugees settled in Georgia. In Clarkston, customers are served from a truck, with seating available nearby.

Kitti Murray, founder of the Refuge Coffee Co., recently launched a fundraising campaign to purchase the property where trucks for Refuge Coffee park in Clarkston. CONTRIBUTED BY SEAN SHERIDAN PHOTOS

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Throughout the pandemic, all Refuge barista trainees and employees remained on payroll, with funds from donors and partnering organizations, including Gene Kansas, the landlord for the Sweet Auburn building. Refuge will remain in the area as the coffee partner for Kansas’ workspace and events venue, Constellations.

In addition to its Clarkston location, Refuge also has a location at the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown, with plans to add a shop in downtown Norcross later this year. All employees at the Sweet Auburn shop have been offered positions at other Refuge locations.

At 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, the Clarkston Refuge Coffee will host what it calls “the most welcoming 5K in the world.” Find more information here:

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