Coffee cafe business brewing at Scottsdale Civic Center Library

Business will be brewing in the Scottsdale Civic Center Library with a coffee cafe approved to come.

During a recent Scottsdale City Council meeting at City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Boulevard, a contract was approved on consent granting the Arizona Department of Economic Security to allow a blind person to operate a new coffee cafe merchandising business in the library.

The contract is for 4.5 years with the first term expiring on Dec. 31, 2022 and two, five-year extensions upon mutual written agreement, according to a city staff report.

The coffee cafe will be operated every day the library is open, offering a variety of hot and cold beverages; morning pastries, snacks, sandwiches and salads for sale, the report specified, noting previous “valued amenities” offered from 2013 through December 2017 by Southwest Autism Resource Center.

Although noted as a model community program by other autism organizations across the country, the organization discontinued all retail food operations, including the “well-supported and appreciated” library cafe, the report detailed of its popularity and feedback since closing.

Reportedly, library staff sought to partner with DES and the Business Enterprise Program, which is a division of the state agency that offers 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 report said.

During the search for a replacement vendor, staff considered coffee cafes in other government buildings, researching other non-profit vendors, noting several locations operated by blind business owners in the vocational program.

The federally mandated Business Enterprise Program through DES provides opportunities for blind business operators to have vending and food service businesses in government facilities, the report stated.

Location, training and equipment is provided at no cost to the operator, but the state agency has a right to replace the business operator at their discretion, and the city may request a change for unsatisfactory service.

Northeast Valley Editorial Assistant Delarita Ford can be reached by e-mail at dford@newszap.com.

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