Relationship dispatch from Steve Schuh:
A chance meeting last year turned into a great relationship between us at Kaldi’s and the Meridzo Ministries in Lynch Kentucky. A family member of Josh Ferguson, one of Kaldi’s owners, heard about the work Meridzo was doing in Lynch and passed along that Meridzo were looking to open a coffee shop in the town. The goal of the shop is to offer jobs and hands-on work experience to a town desperately needing jobs, and provide some funding for the future of the people and the town.
The mine entrance.
Location of Lamp House Coffee, housed in the old mine workers' cafe.
Lynch Kentucky is an old coal mining town and part of a “Tri-Town” area with neighboring Benham and Cumberland. Combined, the three towns have a population of around 3,000. Not more than sixty years ago, Lynch itself had a population of over 10,000 along with a hospital, theatre and school system. When the steel and coal industry moved away from such labor-intensive mining in the 1960s, the town lost funding and population numbers plummeted at an incredible rate. About 10 years ago, Meridzo began doing missions in the town in an effort to help out. The town has given Meridzo some buildings for them to revitalize. Lamp House Coffee is in one such building.
A photo inside Lamp House Coffee of the same building as a cafe in the 1950s.
The owners of Lamp House came and visited us in St. Louis two weeks ago for an initial meeting and some training. And last week, we went down there to help them get set up and open. The town has some incredible history that we were excited to see.
The work the ministry is doing for the town is truly remarkable and you can see how much it is appreciated by the surrounding community. Lots of people stopped in to see what was happening and asking when the café would be opening. This is a big deal for community and we are very proud to play a part in it!
Coffee training with Mark from Kaldi's and Lonnie from Meridzo.