Meg’s Civic Center Cafe at Civic Center Library opens to sweet fanfare


Scottsdale Civic Center Library offers more than books on a shelf as patrons can also check out coffee, cookies and pastries.

Library guests and officials attended the grand opening of Meg’s Civic Center Cafe at Civic Center Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd., on Oct. 24. The event also recognized the partnership between the Scottsdale Public Library and Megan Homrighausen, the cafe operator.

“It was great. I love the support from everyone. It turned out very well and it was really nice,” Ms. Homrighausen said after the grand event. “I just envision a place for people to go to have a nice cup of coffee or a break from the day and enjoy the atmosphere of the library.”

She is a graduate of the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s Business Enterprise program that offers employment opportunities for legally blind individuals to own merchandising businesses, including vending and food service operations, according to a press release.

A four-and-a-half year contract, with the first term expiring on Dec. 31, 2022, and two five year extensions upon mutual written agreement, was recently approved by Scottsdale City Council granting the Arizona Department of Economic Security to allow a blind person to operate a new coffee cafe merchandising business in the library.

Also, a previous city staff report detailed how the agreement can be terminated any time or with 30-days notice by either party.

Library staff was eager to fill the void left by Southwest Autism Resource Center, the former organization that provided eatery services from 2013 to December 2017.

The organization discontinued all retail food operations, including the “well-supported and appreciated” library cafe that closed despite its popularity and positive feedback, resulting in library staff partnering with DES and the Business Enterprise Program.

Ms. Homrighausen described the “comprehensive training program” through the BEP, a division of the state agency offering the vocational rehabilitation program for qualified, legally blind people to receive two years of formal training in food service; vending operations; marketing, accounting and management practices.

“The Business Enterprise Program gives us priority,” said the Mesa resident whose day begins as early as 4:30 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m., daily.

She added that individuals are even trained in how to use their “blindness skills” along with learning such things as budgeting, job shadowing, etc.

Ironically, during the search for a replacement vendor, before Meg’s opened, library staff was impressed by several locations operated by blind business owners in the federally mandated vocational program and DES.

Not only are blind business operators provided opportunities in vending and food service businesses in government facilities, but the location, training and equipment is provided at no cost to the operator.

Meanwhile, patrons enjoy the benefits of a coffee cafe operated every day the library is open, offering a variety of hot and cold beverages; morning pastries, snacks, sandwiches and salads for sale.

Independent Newsmedia News Services Specialist Delarita Ford can be reached by e-mail at dford@newszap.com.

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