Indy coffee shop acquired for training housing-challenged youth
Indianapolis coffee shop Neidhammer Coffee Co. has been purchased by not-for-profit 91 Place to give its young clients the opportunity to get work experience in the java spot.
The shop is located on the city’s near east side on the first floor of the three-story Neidhammer building. Joel Walsman, who owns the building with his family, sold the business in exchange for 91 Place agreeing to a three-year commercial lease, Walsman told IBJ in an email.
“We decided to sell Neidhammer Coffee Co. in order to simplify our business environments,” Walsman said. “Retaining real estate while simplifying the daily demands of retail operations is a welcome change.”
The Walsman family bought the building for $151,934 from Englewood Community Development Corp. in January 2015, according to county assessor’s records. It then rehabilitated the structure, which was originally the Neidhammer Drug Store in the early 1900s.
91 Place aims to disrupt generational poverty and chronic homelessness by providing early intervention for youth approaching adulthood who are experiencing housing instability. It offers transitional housing, mental health services and workforce development for their residents on the near-east side of Indianapolis.
Hascall Shaffer, director of workforce development for 91 Place, said the not-for-profit had been searching for a coffee shop to train the young adults living in the organization’s housing, as well as former residents.
The not-for-profit operates two transitional homes with four youth residents each, along with live-in mentors, said Karynn Adamowicz, director of development and communications for 91 Place.
Neidhammer will continue to operate as a coffee shop with the usual offerings, but 91 Place residents that have undergone workforce development training and an interview process will be employed at the shop.
Alumni and residents of the program can maintain a job at the shop for nine months to a year, and will be equipped to seek out employment opportunities elsewhere.
“The idea is to just give them a safe place to learn some skill, which is being a barista in a coffee shop, and getting to know regulars,” Shaffer said. “Just kind of open up their world to something outside of just a warehouse, or picking up trash, or something like that.”
“My biggest hope is for them to find stability and confidence in themselves, that they can go after a job that they really want, rather than a job that they just need,” Shaffer added.
The Neidhammer also contains an event venue and co-working space. 91 Place will not take over these spaces, Shaffer said.
The coffee shop was closed beginning on April 1 for the transition. It will reopen Wednesday under the ownership of 91 Place. A grand opening is scheduled for April 15.