A second location of Clarkston-based Refuge Coffee Co. opens in January at the historic Atlanta Daily World building on Auburn Avenue in Sweet Auburn. The activist-driven coffee shop, which also provides job training and opportunities for Clarkston’s large refugee community, replaces Condesa Coffee at the building.
Condesa, owned by Georgia Tech graduates Daniela Staiculescu, Amin Rida, Moe Reda, and Octavian Stan, opened in Sweet Auburn five years ago after finding success with the original coffee shop on the corner of Boulevard and Freedom Parkway.
“Condesa was there for five years [and was] successful on revitalization of the neighborhood, which was their goal,” a representative says. “The owners are focusing on other things.”
Condesa’s Sweet Auburn shop closes at the end of December. There are no plans to close the Old Fourth Ward location.
As for Refuge Coffee, owners Kitti Murray and Bill Murray plan to continue their mission of offering a “safe, multi-ethnic space void of agenda” for Atlanta’s refugee community in Sweet Auburn. This includes providing jobs and job training as well as hosting clothing drives, food pop-ups, and fundraisers. Since opening five years ago in the small city of Clarkston just east of Atlanta, the Murrays have served thousands of customers from over 80 countries from their coffee truck and shop in what some call “the most diverse square mile in America.”
“We often say that we do our work with the refugees, not for them. This means we are co-creators in the truest sense,” Kitti Murray says in a press release. “We’re thrilled to be moving into Sweet Auburn, an area that has a vast history regarding social and civic justice, and the struggles so many people face in finding a sense of home within a broader community from which they may be marginalized.”
On November 20, commercial real estate company Gene Kansas hosts the Murrays, District 5 council member Natalyn Archibong, and members of the Clarkston refugee community for a public open house at the Constellations co-working space in the nearby Southern schoolbook building. The party, taking place between 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., includes snacks and beverages from many Clarkston-based catering companies and opportunities to donate to Refuge Coffee’s jobs training program.
Refuge Coffee’s Clarkston shop features two food trucks parked outside a converted 1960s service station with seating inside and on the covered patio. Its second location at the historic Sweet Auburn building was once home to the city’s oldest and continually operating African-American newspaper, Atlanta Daily World, founded by Morehouse College graduate William Alexander Scott II in 1928. The paper has since moved to Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta.
145 Auburn Avenue, Atlanta. refugecoffeeco.com.