The Coffee Connection will host a first anniversary celebration April 16th and 17th. The weekend kicks off with a celebration reception Saturday April 16th at 10:00 am. Local dignitaries will join the staff and customers of the Cannonball Cafe for free coffee and cake. Executive Director Joy Bergfalk will talk about the successes of the first year and the challenges the location still faces.
For the past year, the Cannonball Cafe has allowed the Coffee Connection to provide additional resources to help local women in recovery. The location has faced some challenges in the first year but with the growing support of the community many of those can be overcome. Most recently the Cannonball team participated in the Charlotte Winterfest Chili Cookoff and won first place in the Amateur division, thanks to the incredible chili created by chef Charmain Day.
The Cannonball Cafe is located at the corner of Lake Avenue and Latta Road in Charlotte, in the former Latta-Meech House, built circa 1809 by Sam Latta, the oldest house in Charlotte and the second oldest in Monroe County. The house had deteriorated in condition over previous decades, and the porch and balcony of the Victorian-style house had been removed. The project included restoring the Victorian style on the outside. The inside of the house required almost total renovation.
The Charlotte Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit organization with a vision for neighborhood renewal in Charlotte, began renovation of the building in August 2012 utilizing numerous contractors in the process. As nonprofit organizations, both groups depended on the flow of grant funding, donations, and in-kind gifts to complete the project.
The Coffee Connection invested about $80,000 in renovation of the interior and preparation for use as a coffee shop and café. That does not include another $50,000 in value of in-kind gifts of flooring, lighting, equipment, plus innumerable hours of volunteer labor.
The Cannonball Cafe represents the third location for the Coffee Connection and will allow the organization to provide more job opportunities for women in recovery in our community. Women in the program receive job training, sober support and advocacy which all lead to increased self- sufficiency. The results of the program are reduced incarceration and inpatient treatment, reduced dependence on social services and creates more jobs and spending power within the community, saving the community an estimated $1,000,000 each year. The Coffee Connection has created more than 20 new jobs for women in the program and hopes to create at least five more jobs in the coming year.
“We are delighted to be part of the Charlotte community and northern Rochester suburbs, offering great food and coffee and the opportunity to support our mission of empowering women and creating jobs,” said Joy Bergfalk, executive director of The Coffee Connection/Project Empower.
In November, 2011 the nonprofit organization Life Listening Resources assumed management of the Coffee Connection and combined its program, Project Empower (working with women in recovery from addiction using a trauma-based model). Under the direction of Executive Director, Joy Bergfalk, they have been fully engaged in social entrepreneurship in the Rochester Area. They expanded from their original location at 681 South Avenue and opened The Greenhouse Cafe at 2271 East Main St. in June 2012. The Cannonball Café was open for business in April 2015. The Coffee Connection roasts its own fair trade, organic coffee and sells wholesale to local businesses, agencies, schools, and faith communities.
Last year the Coffee Connection was awarded the first-ever Matchstick Prize by Causewave Community Partners (formerly the Rochester Ad Council) and the Democrat and Chronicle. Joy Bergfalk received national recognition for her work when she was awarded the Roslyn S. Jaffee award in New York City in October 2014.