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New Lancaster coffee shop to host job-training program for city youth

Student workers will help run a coffee shop set to open in downtown Lancaster this spring as part of a partnership between a city co-working space and two other organizations.

The Candy Factory, a co-working space at 342 N. Queen St., is opening a coffee shop in April, and has partnered with two Lancaster-based organizations to use the space to train young people from the city, the company announced Monday.

One of the organizations is a nonprofit, The Mix at Arbor Place, that focuses on mentoring young people. The other is a consulting firm for nonprofits, coLab Inc.

Under the partnership with Candy Factory, they are creating a program that will give city youth the opportunity to learn business and customer service skills at the coffee shop, to be called Perkup & Co., a news release said.

“We are giving our students an opportunity to break the ever-growing cycle of unemployment,” said Luis Torres, executive director of Arbor Place. “It is our mission to prepare today’s youth to be tomorrow’s leaders.”

When Anne Kirby, owner of The Candy Factory and Perkup, first announced the addition of a coffee shop to her co-working business, her goal was to use a share of the shop’s sales to help children in the city.

Hosting a workplace program at the shop is an extension of that idea.

The coffee shop will open with a staff of four young people, as well as four adult staff members, according to Kirby.

Perkup, located at 348 N. Queen St., will be managed by Kirby’s son, Austin Kirby. Garret Drew Ellis, a freelance writer and a member of The Candy Factory, will serve as an employment coach.

Perkup will offer pre-ordered food in an effort to reduce the waste that comes from preparing inventory that doesn’t sell, Kirby said.

Harrisburg-based Little Amps Coffee will provide coffee, and Faith Zimmerman, who previously managed another downtown coffee shop, Prince Street Café, will plan menu and drinks at Perkup.

The Candy Factory expansion to be complete in May

Adding a coffee shop is just one piece of an expansion project at The Candy Factory.

The co-working space has been a construction site since fall 2016.

The Candy Factory occupies the first two floors of a six-story tower, the Lancaster Storage Building. Because it needed more space, Lancaster-based Ecklin Group is renovating the four additional floors. The project is scheduled to wrap up by May.

The Candy Factory is also opening a second location this month called Rock Candy. It will be located in the live-event industry campus Rock Lititz in Warwick Township.

Lenay Ruhl

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