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'We are so close': Co-op coffee shop set to open soon in Old Louisville

They plan to make it an inclusive space for employees and staff, encouraging a strong representation for people of color and queer folks.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Since the pandemic put a strain on Louisville's service industry, baristas are calling for ownership in their workplaces. 

Noa August listed their frustration from low pay to being treated as a number. "Things like that make you want to ... create your own thing," they said.

That's exactly what they're doing at Old Louisville Coffee Co-op. 

A handful of founding members were frustrated with their industry and decided to create their own coffee shop.

Adrian Silbernagel said his most recent job was as a shop manager. He said creating a co-op in Louisville has taken months.

"There's obviously not a whole lot of worker co-ops around to look at as models," Silbernagel said. "So we kind of dug into our activists and community organizer circles and started asking questions and they connected us with people who connected us with people who had some experience." 

They've spent the last few months prepping their location on West Ormsby Avenue, with free rent until it's up and running. They are putting together bylaws for how the co-op will operate.

They shared excerpts explaining the requirements for co-op members. It explains how members can join and how all will have access to accounting books and minutes. 

Credit: Old Louisville Coffee Co-op
Some of the bylaws explaining the requirements for co-op members at Old Louisville Coffee Co-op.

The group made this Kickstarter to fundraise for the shop earlier this year.

Silbernagel said, "It went live, and then like a week later we had met our original goal." 

They plan to make it an inclusive space for employees and staff, encouraging a strong representation for people of color and queer folks.

August added, "The community loves coffee and they love us and that feels amazing that we have their support and they believe in this just as much as we do." 

The big question left to answer - when will they open?

"We are so close, like every day we are chomping at the bit to open but it will be soon," Silbernagel said.

When they do finally open, they're hoping to offer a 24-hour shop to people in Old Louisville on the weekends. 

Eventually, they hope to make it a 24/7 coffee shop. 

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