'Coffee Rehab' would stay open late, provide alcohol-free alternative for those in recovery

Image 1 of 2

For people who are recovering from alcohol addiction, finding a place to hang out that’s alcohol-free can be a challenge, but a Twin Cities woman thinks she has as solution.

The idea: A coffee shop that stays open late and provides those in recovery with a safe space.

She wants to call it “Coffee Rehab.”

In a vacant storefront along East Lake Street and 36th Avenue South, Katy Armendariz is brewing her vision for the store.

“This is where the tables will be and everyone can come and gather and order their drink or food and play cards, socialize and have a sense of community,” Armendariz said.

Most important to her vision is that the currently empty walls would fill a needed space for those battling alcohol addiction.

Armendariz said it can be hard for people in recovery to find a place to go, whether it’s on a date or with friends.

“It is increasingly difficult to find spaces that are dry places and to talk openly about your addiction,” she said.

Armendariz knows this because she recently left treatment herself.

“And so I have a very close and personal connection to the recovery world and I can see myself running this coffee shop and having it be a safe place for people in recovery, people trying to get sober,” she said.

As a social worker, Armendariz sees merging the coffee shop with her business.

“Minnesota Care Partner offers mental health and chemical health services.  We have an outpatient program called Roots Recovery and I envision this being the offices and a place that we offer groups,” she explained. “So, anyone in the coffee shop wants additional support they are able to get it right next door.”

She knows the challenge for any new entrepreneur is raising money.

“Well, as we can see, this place needs a lot of work. And, I’m hoping to get support from the community, especially the recovery community through a Kickstarter campaign and have people pledge ten dollars,” she said. “If it’s $10, you get a free coffee when we’re open. If it’s 25, it’s two coffee drinks and two snacks. And there’s different pledge levels and my rewards are based on amount.”

Her goal is to raise about $250,000 to get the idea off the ground.

“This is an opportunity to get out and to be around people and to not have the temptation of alcohol,” Armendariz said.