While many coffee shops are quiet or closed by the time evening rolls around, Compass Coffee was abuzz Sunday evening when it opened its doors to local vendors and community members.
More than a hundred people showed up to shop from local businesses and socialize during the Well Community Development Corp.’s first Middlebury Mixer, a family-friendly event meant to connect community members with the city they live in.
The Well CDC is a local organization that seeks to revitalize the Middlebury area, along with other Akron neighborhoods.
Its headquarters are in the same building as Compass Coffee at 647 E. Market St., a coffee shop that the organization started one year ago to help fund its missions of creating affordable housing, a thriving economy and community gathering spaces.
Curtis Minter Jr., director of operations for the organization, said that once the expenses of the shop are paid off, profits from the business will go toward the organization’s campaigns to fund community initiatives — especially renovating affordable housing.
“We hope to just create a gathering place for all our neighbors,” Minter said.
Creating a gathering place was the idea behind the mixer event Sunday, which featured products being sold from six vendors with local ties: Goods, Akron Honey Co., the Canton Gypsy Market, Saint Augustine and Suds, the Garrett Candle Co. and Lilacs on York Creative Studios.
Randi Woods Hodge, who founded the natural body and hair product company called Goods, inadvertently helped come up with the idea for the event when she held her launch party at Compass Coffee in November.
“People came to party, and the community came to support,” Hodge said. “People were here dancing the whole time.”
People asked her and the Well to host another event, she said, and this time, even more vendors hopped on board. Minter said he hopes to hold a mixer event quarterly.
The amount of interest was apparent from the size of the crowd. From the time the event started at about 5 p.m., the shop was nearly filled with people browsing through vendors, chatting and eating home-cooked food.
Dancing started to pick up through the night, too, as more people roamed to the back of the room where DJ Ill Will was playing music.
Brendan Gambrell, 7, and his sisters, Tanailjah, 6, and Cadence, 4, were among the first on the dance floor busting out their moves.
“They’re the life of the party wherever they go,” said their mom, Hanne-Lore Gambrell of Akron.
Gambrell was there with her husband, Denzel, to support the Well and check out the coffee shop.
“I think it’s great … we’re making our way around. I’ve got my eye on some of those candles over there,” Hanne-Lore Gambrell said.
“I’m enjoying it. As you can see, they are too,” Denzel Gambrell said, pointing to their dancing kids.
**This article was written by By Theresa Cottom of Beacon Journal/Ohio.com and featured at: https://www.ohio.com/akron/news/compass-coffee-fills-up-sunday-evening-for-the-well-cdcs-first-middlebury-mixer-event
Theresa Cottom can be reached at 330-996-3216 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @Theresa_Cottom.