Lucky Ones Coffee brings drinks to the Christian Center of Park City
Lucky Ones Coffee was looking to expand its business. The Christian Center of Park City was looking to add a coffee service at its building. The two organizations quickly found a way to solve the other’s problems.
Lucky Ones Coffee, a coffee shop in Park City that employees people with disabilities, set up shop in the Christian Center on Jan. 7. The coffee cart is located next to the center’s boutique and serves coffee, hot chocolate and pastries.
Taylor Matkins, the co-founder of Lucky Ones, said she and Pete Stoughton, director of programs for the Christian Center, began conversations about partnering a couple months ago. Matkins told Stoughton and Rob Harter, executive director, she was searching for a way to expand so she and her partner, Katie Holyfield, could hire more people. She wanted to use the center’s new commercial kitchen to bake pastries for the coffee shop’s primary location in the Park City Library.
Harter and Stoughton were on board, but they all agreed to hold off on Lucky Ones using the kitchen until after the Sundance Film Festival. A coffee cart, however, could be implemented right away.
Matkins reached out to the Park City Learning Academy and special education program at Park City High School to see if they would be interested in partnering as well, since the cart could be used as a vocational program for students. They immediately said yes.
Now, students from the Park City Learning Academy run the coffee cart from 10 a.m. to noon and Park City High School students in the special education program work from noon to 2 p.m.
“It’s a vocational program that allows them to be really social and work with money,” Matkins said. “Being immersed in that kind of environment really helps you learn quicker.”
Plus, she said, working with customers helps build social skills. She has seen that in her employees in the 10 months since opening Lucky Ones, and in the couple of days running the new coffee cart.
Jaclyn Schoenfeld, a paraprofessional at Park City High School, said one of the students has come out of her shell since starting her new job working at the coffee cart. And, she added, it has provided work experience so she can get a job after graduation.
“It’s amazing to see her brighten up and handle everything,” she said.
Ava Jennings, a sophomore at Park City High School, has worked for Lucky Ones for almost a year. She has loved helping customers and learning how to make different coffee drinks.
Job training is one of the services the Christian Center is aiming to improve, Stoughton said. The center wanted to support Lucky Ones because the two organizations have a common mission of helping people develop critical life skills.
“We want to be a location where we are meeting people beyond just basic needs,” Stoughton said.
Lucky Ones expects to start working in the kitchen in a month or so, and the expansion will create six to eight more jobs, Matkins said. The employees who work there will learn how to bake and work as a team.
She hopes Lucky Ones can continue to expand because she has more than a dozen people eager to work at Lucky Ones. Currently, the coffee shop employs 17 people, Matkins said.
Half of the proceeds from the coffee cart go to the Christian Center and half go to Lucky Ones, Stoughton said.
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Another ski season is in the books, and much to the relief of the restaurant industry, the outlook, like the weather, is looking sunny.