By Kay Whatley, Editor
Drive into downtown Louisburg NC, and just past the courthouse you’ll find Blue Collie Coffee. This nonprofit coffee shop serves beverages and treats while providing jobs for area special needs students.
The Z.B. Collie Foundation provides scholarships to students who face economic challenges to participate in academic enrichment at area universities. The premise is to provide opportunities, and Blue Collie Coffee does for individuals who may have intellectual or developmental disabilities. … Students from the Occupational Course of Study program in the three [local] high schools will be able to use Blue Collie as a work site when school begins in the fall.
Rural, low-wealth counties like Franklin County offer few opportunities for kids in school or after graduating, and Blue Collie Coffee offers employment to these students.
Al and Paige Sayles opened Blue Collie Coffee in May 2017, after several months of renovating the space at 106 N Main Street in Louisburg, including sanding floors, painting, making seating, setting up wi-fi, and installing equipment from Italy.
They and their employees now serve brewed coffees, teas from Two Leaves and a Bud — an organic and fairly traded tea company from Colorado — alongside blueberry muffins, lemon bars, and other tasty goodies six days a week. Stop in Monday-Friday, 7:30am-4pm, or Saturday starting at 9am.
In addition to the nonprofit employment, the Sayles have connected with local businesses including a NC bakery. Strong Arm Baking Co. is based in Wilton NC (Granville County), which is west of Louisburg and north of Raleigh. This bakery runs a Bread Share, bringing fresh bread to sell in Blue Collie Coffee each Thursday afternoon, 4-5:30pm. Strong Arm Baking Co. will even take advance-orders for extra items that customers may pick up on Thursdays at the coffee shop.
According to Al Sayles, the Historic Neighborhood Association originally came and asked him if he would consider letting the bakery use the coffee shop as a pick up point. “I needed baked goods and the rest is history,” said Al.
Blue Collie Coffee also hosted a mushroom grower for them to distributed their goods one day in May. Al met the mushroom folks at the Wake Forest Farmers Market, and invited them to come to his shop.
See Blue Collie Coffee Shop updates, offerings, and staff news on their Facebook page. Or, say hello in person, meet their employees face-to-face, and enjoy a hot cup of coffee, grab one of their baked goods, or — if it’s Thursday — pick up Strong Arm Baking Co. bread for later.
To reach the shop during business hours, and find out what they have going on, call 919.400.9240.
Want to help? The Z.B. Collie Foundation accepts donations at www.gofundme.com/bluecolliecoffeeshop.