It’s more than a coffee shop.
It’s a coffee community.
The new store, which opened in Olde Town Conyers this week, is a nonprofit mission of Awake Communities International, Inc., said co-owner Noelle Cosby.
“We decided to create an organization to support the local community, an outreach with a heart for loving people,” she said. “We’re an organization of people who believe in Jesus and want to bring light and life to the community.”
Before the shop opened in Olde Town, Cosby said, her partners and she spent two-and-a-half years building relationships with the community. That included becoming a Rockdale County schools work-based approved learning site as well as partnering with the home school community.
The efforts to connect with others in Rockdale County paid off. Over 70 people attended the opening on April 21, Cosby said.
“It’s been a wild ride,” she said. “[The people of] Rockdale County [have] truly invested in this project and it belongs to them.”
The coffee house is a mission-based nonprofit, Cosby said. “Jason [her husband] and I strongly believe in Christ, but found that traditional church ministry didn’t work for us. We love the church, but there are many people in this and other communities who wouldn’t walk into a church, but who would come here.”
And while she says they do not force their spiritual beliefs on others, they are there to listen. That’s one of the reasons Awake Coffee Community serves coffee made in a French Press or a Full Immersion Pour Over.
“It takes time to craft coffee, so the staff has time to build relationships with customers and with the community,” Cosby said. “The volunteer staff is trained to serve people. Our faith is there, but it’s more important to serve the community.”
Staff also take time to explain what type of coffee is being created. The coffee is purchased through Safe House Coffee Roasters, a nonprofit organization in Griffin, GA. They, in turn, are supplied by Thrive Farmers, which buys directly from farmers primarily in Central and South America. The coffee itself is ordered, roasted within a two week period.
Awake Coffee Community also sells coffee beans, loose-leaf tea and baked goods. The organization is also committed to helping local artists and performers by providing gallery space on the wall, displaying crafted items and offering live music and open mic nights.
“We’re looking for local artists and musicians,” Cosby said. “If anyone’s interested in performing or displaying art, they should contact me.”
Cosby partners with her husband, Jason, who works as a digital developer for the Rockdale and Covington newspapers; Nate and Kara Hogg; Alec and Sarah Smith; Sam Lund, and Angel Henry.
“There’s such an issue in our communities with loneliness,” said Jordan Kelecheck, 17, a home school student volunteering at the coffee shop. “This is a great, safe place for people to come build relationships.”
Cosby said they hope the success of the coffee house will inspire others in small towns around the country to open similar venues. Currently, she said, she is talking with the pastor of an Oxford, Ga., church who is interested in creating a similar coffee house in his community.