Refuge Coffee Co., a Clarkston-based non-profit organization and coffee shop offering employment, mentorship and job training to refugees resettled in Georgia, will open its doors in January 2020 in the Daily World Building where Condesa Coffee is currently housed, at 145 Auburn Avenue.
This will be the first in-town brick-and-mortar, and the second location, for Refuge Coffee Co.
Starting in 2014, founder and CEO Kitti Murray began to build the organization on a promise of providing a safe, multi-ethnic space in the heart of Clarkston. To date, it has welcomed “home” 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,” says Murray.
“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.”
Refuge Coffee Co.’s new downtown home also has a history of coffee and community.
In 1918, it was home to Virgil Coffee Company, and in the 1930s the Atlanta Daily World moved into the building, coming to prominence during the 1960s.
In the 1940s, the space was Club Poinciana, a jazz club that welcomed legendary acts such as Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman. In 1944, District V, Atlanta’s first African-American Girl Scouts 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,” says Gene Kansas, founder of both Gene Kansas | Commercial Real Estate and civic, social and culturally-based shared workspace Constellations, just two doors down at 135 Auburn. Kansas led a successful historic preservation of the Daily World Building.
“What Refuge Coffee Co. brings to Sweet Auburn beyond job training, leadership development and great coffee, is an opportunity for visitors from around the world to experience, in living color, Dr. King’s immortal words reinforcing the need for and importance of civil and human rights. Refuge serves great coffee, but more importantly they are serving humanity.”
Patrons looking for Condesa Coffee can still find them at their Old Fourth Ward location on the ground level of the Tribute Lofts, 480 John Wesley Dobbs.