An assortment of coffees and hand-crafted teas, a creative breakfast and lunch menu, a variety of social service programs and the amenities of a full-scale library included as one entity is a plus for the McKees Rocks/Stowe Township area. Since 1969, The Focus On Renewal Sto-Rox (FOR) Neighborhood Corporation has worked with a wide range of partners to support the residents through programs of all ages aimed towards the development of healthy mind, body and spirit.
One of the newest partners, Joyin Enterprises, LLC, recently moved into the Father Ryan Arts and Cultural Center, 420 Chartiers Ave. It’s one of FORs’ six locations. “This partnership and location is perfect for my business,” said Donna L. Taylor, chief executive officer. In July she opened Joy In Coffee Café in the building that also houses the FOR offices, the Baverso Theater, an art gallery and a library operated by the Allegheny County Library Association. With 17,000 vehicles traveling Chartiers Ave. daily, Taylor feels the Father Ryan Center is a perfect location for her retail specialty coffee shop because it provides a steady customer base. Along with operating the Café, Joy In also caters. Using Grub Hub and Uber Eats extends the business’ reach into Downtown Pittsburgh and beyond.
Menu items include a mix of coffee and teas inclusive of espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, Carmel mochas, hot chocolates, and an assortment of lemonades and cold beverages. Breakfast, served all day, includes various styles of sandwiches, wraps, toasts and waffles. The lunch menu also includes a variety of sandwiches, wraps and wedges, Angus hamburgers, cheeseburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches. Taylor said she offers specialty items like Muffuletta Sandwiches, gourmet mac and cheese, vegetarian and gluten free dishes and an assortment of pastries and deserts.
Drawing on her 20 plus years of corporate knowledge, Taylor credits her love for coffee-generating from her sales and marketing experience in the Maxwell House Coffee division. Her desire to operate a specialty coffee shop were fulfilled when she became the manager at Every Day Café in Homewood. In July the Kentucky native’s dream was fully satisfied when she established what she defines as a retail specialty coffee shop and business consulting organization.
With the mission to inspire and bring joy to her customers and to create first-rate gathering places in whatever community she is located, “At the start of each day, we look forward to exhilarating conversations with our customers receiving pure enjoyment serving great coffee from our award-winning roaster, Dillanos,” Taylor said.
“We know where we want to go, and it is our goal to make our communities just a little more joyful, one cup, one café at a time.” Dillanos Coffee Roasters is a Christian-oriented roaster based in Seattle.
“We are delighted to have Donna here,” said Cynthia Haines, executive director of FOR. “As a partnership our intent is to conduct a barista training program offering a combination of entrepreneurial and life skills to area young people 16 to 21.”
The goal, according to Haines and Taylor, is for the participants to develop an employment portfolio while acquiring the necessary skills to either become an entrepreneur or to become gainfully employed.
As a non-profit organization, the vision of FOR is for the citizens they serve to become resilient, contributing members of the community. In addition to the Father Ryan Arts and Cultural Center, FOR’s scope of family support includes child development, health, and school readiness; economic self-sufficiency; outreach to non-participating families; parent leadership and advocacy services and support that strengthens families.
Haines, executive director of FOR a little over two years, maintains her excitement for the organization, leading a staff of thirty. She describes her work as supporting food security, helping families and individuals to become more financially secure, providing access to life-changing learning environments, promoting optimal early childhood development, and engaging community members through the arts. All by providing a community-centered approach to neighborhood engagement and development.
For the 2017/2018 fiscal year, the organization’s top six accomplishments included; expanding earned revenue streams, fundraising successes, launching the Community Resource Center, enhancing their arts and culture programs, creating Teen Studio Sto-Rox and transforming the Sto-Rox Public Library.
Both Haines and Taylor aim to inspire the areas in which they serve, community by community. “Incredible things are happening here, and we want people to look forward to more,” Haines said. “We will forge new partnerships and continue our work as an innovative community resource.”
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