Christy’s Corner Café Serves More Than Tasty TreatsSkill Development, Training, And Opportunity are Also on the Menu
As a registered nurse, Kathy Barbee never envisioned opening a café. But when her sister Christy died at age 34, she knew she wanted to turn her attention to creating a non-profit foundation and legacy that celebrated her sister’s accomplishments and impact on her community. This October, in celebration of both National Disability Employment Awareness Month and Global Diversity Awareness Month, Dawn Foods is celebrating customer Christy’s Corner Café and looking back at other bakeries we’ve showcased throughout the year.
Christy Bosch was born with Down Syndrome but never let that stop her from pursuing the hobbies she loved and building relationships with everyone around her. “Christy loved sports and found many different ways to become involved,” Kathy said. “She participated in Special Olympics and served as manager for the local high school boys’ varsity basketball team.”
While Christy was a strong self-advocate, her family also realized how many opportunities she had been given. “Once she passed away, we knew we wanted to provide those same types of opportunities for others,” Kathy added.
Out of that desire to help, Christy’s Corner Café and Engaging Opportunities Foundation (EOF) were born. EOF strives to provide employment opportunities for individuals with special needs, providing a service to the community, and teaching lifelong employment skills to enhance the quality of life for its clients. Christy's Corner Cafe was the first business to launch from the support of the foundation. Others are in the planning stages.
The café is a local Elmore, Ohio favorite, serving breakfast and lunch and a wide assortment of baked goods like donuts, scones, turnovers, and their famous cinnamon rolls. Christy’s Corner turns to Dawn as a partner to help them operate as efficiently as possible while maintaining quality. “Dawn is always there to help us shift from time-consuming, costly scratch items to mixes that are easy and quick but still taste great and give us the quality we want,” she added.
Worrying less about scratch baking allows Kathy and her team to focus on the training and life skills they provide their employees, most of whom are people with special needs. “Before COVID, 18 percent of people with special needs who wanted to work had employment, and that number has recently gone down, leaving more and more of this population unemployed.”
By working at Christy’s Corner, the team learns new skills and learns about themselves. “They learn what they like and don’t like, what skills come more easily than others, and how to apply those skills to every day living,” Kathy added.
Christy’s Corner Cafe is focused on growing their mission and extending their reach. “We’re looking at new things like adding an event space and continuing our work with local high schools to bring in students with special needs and their aids so that they can build skills prior to graduation,” Kathy said.
“Christy had such a happy life,” she added. “So many people could have said ‘no’ but by saying ‘yes” they gave her so much. She was a uniter, and we want to do the same thing.”
To learn more about Christy’s Corner Café, visit them at christyscornercafe.com, or follow them on Facebook ChristysCornerCafe or Instagram at @Christys_Corner_Cafe.
In Case You Missed It…More About Dawn Customers We Featured in 2022
Brown Sugar Bakery
Renown Chicago bakery Brown Sugar Bakery is managed by owner Stephanie Hart, and she has put her business on a sharp trajectory for growth and long-term success. Driven by the motto “Life is Sweet,” Hart has focused her business on employing people of color and women, concentrating on traditional southern recipes that harken back to the flavors she grew up with.
“My business was incubated in an area of Black businesses that all helped each other succeed and we are committed to each other. It’s a model other cities could replicate.”
TSP Baking Company
For TSP Baking Company, located in Las Vegas, supporting causes and charities close to their heart has always been part of their recipe for success. “Being an ally has always been important to us,” said Kari Garcia, owner of TSP Baking Company. “We have family members and friends who are part of the LGBTQ+ community and have always wanted everyone to know our bakery is a welcoming and safe space.”
And TSP’s support goes far beyond its rainbow-themed menu (which has a place in the bakery all year long). TSP celebrates Pride with special promotions and events with 10 percent of all sales going to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). “It’s important to donate to HRC for us because we believe in equality for all,” Kari added. Last year, TSP donated $2,500 and hopes to raise even more this year.
When Kip Goo and his partners started Pa’ina Café in Hawaii in 2008, they wanted to pay homage to the melting pot of flavors that are intrinsic to Hawaiian cuisine. “Pa’ina in Hawaiian means ‘gathering’,” Goo said. “It’s a very simple word, but it strongly represents family and the flavors that everyone in Hawaii considers part of their culture.”
Goo is happy to see the exposure his culture is receiving. “We celebrate Asian flavors and traditions all year long,” he said. “Being located in Chinatown (in our Las Vegas location), we work to provide a bit of home to our community. Our core customer base is in that neighborhood.” Goo also notes that there are 100,000 Hawaiian transplants in Las Vegas, and he wants to serve as a reminder of beloved Hawaiian flavors and ingredients. “Our repeat customers are in love with Hawaii,” he said.
Want to learn more about how Dawn Foods collaborates with customers to help them build their bakery businesses and create recipes that drive profits? Contact your sales representative today. You can also read more about all of our customers we’ve featured under our Bakery Spotlights.