Refill Cafe, a nonprofit workforce development cafe located inside the space that once housed Koinonia Coffee House (136 S. Adams St.) in west Jackson, will open to the public on Tuesday, Aug. 27. The cafe will be open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Jeff Good, president of Mangia Bene Restaurant Group, teamed up with other restaurant owners and entrepreneurs in 2016 to create a workforce training cafe to help young people learn skills for the workplace. The Refill set up a new business in the space after Koinonia's closure, based on models already in place in businesses such as Cafe Reconcile and Liberty's Kitchen in New Orleans.
Refill obtained a $235,000 loan from Hope Credit Union to purchase the building and a planning grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to develop the cafe. Good is now chairman of the Refill board of directors, and Carol Burger, the now-retired chief executive officer of United Way of the Capital Area, will serve as vice chairwoman.
The nonprofit will work with young adults age 18 to 24 who are not currently working or in school. Refill offers a 10-week training program, of which participants spend five weeks in classrooms on the building's second floor developing workplace skills such as answering a phone, sending emails, how to present oneself, resume building, filling job applications, personal health and well-being, professional dress and financial management, anger management and interview skills, Good told the Jackson Free Press.
Participants then spend the remaining five weeks in the cafe on the ground floor shadowing full-time employees for on-the-job training, including working in the kitchen, running the register, serving and busing tables, and other tasks.
The menu at Refill Cafe will include dishes such as kale Caesar salads, carved turkey sandwiches topped with cranberry dressing, daily "power bowls" of brown rice and quinoa topped with vegetables and a choice of protein, a variety of soups and sandwiches, a rotating selection of daily blue plate specials and more.
"Our goal here is to provide customers with healthy but delicious takes on all kinds of classic lunch items," Emily Stanfield, president and chief executive officer of Refill, says. "By supporting the cafe, people will be supporting our mission. We want to see a wide variety of people from west Jackson and the local business community come in to help our young people learn and practice these important job skills."
For more information, visit refillcafejackson.com or find the cafe on Facebook.
Innovate Mississippi New Venture Challenge
Innovate Mississippi will host its 11th annual Mississippi New Venture Challenge Pitch Competition on Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Clyde Muse Center (515 Country Place Parkway, Pearl) on the Hinds Community College campus in Pearl.
During the event, 30 Mississippi tech entrepreneurs will pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges comprised of state entrepreneurs and investors. Judges will include Thimblepress owner Kristen Ley; Terrance Hibbert, director of innovation for University of Mississippi Medical Center's Health Innovation and Transformation division; Ben Hubbard, state director of Innovate's Mississippi Coding Academies; and Matthew McLaughlin, owner of legal advisory firm McLaughlin, PC.
The competition will include a student division for high-school or college graduates; a pre-revenue division for startup companies that have not yet started making money; and a post-revenue division for companies that do have a product or service on the market generating revenue.
Participants will work together with a mentor who will assist them in preparing for the competition, a release from Innovate Mississippi says. Mentors will include investors from Innovate's Mississippi Mentor Network and business professionals that Innovate will match with participants based on their areas of expertise and experience. Judging will be based on each team's executive summary of their business plan and a live presentation each team must give, Tasha Bibb, entrepreneurial development director for Innovate Mississippi, told the Jackson Free Press.
There will be three winners from each division, and Innovate will give cash prizes to the winning teams. The participants will also receive free professional services from supporting service providers such as attorneys, accountants and web designers to help grow their businesses.
The event begins at 1 p.m., and is free and open to the public. Afterward, participants will participate in a networking reception, where Innovate will also announce the winners.
For more information, call Tasha Bibb at 601-960-3610 or email [email protected], or visit innovate.ms.
Newk's Cares Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
Newk's Eatery (4450 Interstate 55 N.) will host a Lunch & Learn event on ovarian cancer research and prevention on Thursday, Aug. 22, as part of the restaurant's annual Newk's Cares events in support of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September. St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson will co-host the event, which will take place at noon at Sparkman Auditorium on the campus of the Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum (1150 Lakeland Drive).
During the Lunch & Learn, panelists will discuss statistics and symptoms of and critical research developments relating to ovarian cancer. Panelists include St. Dominic's gynecologic oncologist Christy Haygoodand; Katherine Fuh, assistant professor in the division of gynecologic oncology at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.; Jennifer Boone, St. Dominic's oncology survivorship navigator and co-coordinator of the St. Dominic's Woman to Woman program; and Carol Barnes, a kinesiology professor from Mississippi College in Clinton. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.
Newk's Cares is also partnering with the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance to co-host OCRA's Ovarian Cycle Jackson event at The Club at The Township (340 Township Ave., Ridgeland) on Thursday, Sept. 19. Participants can ride in five 45-minute time slots every hour from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration is $50, and ovarian-cancer survivors can ride for free. Attendees will receive a box lunch from Newk's Eatery and an OCRA gift bag with complimentary items, including a shirt.
This year, Newk's is also bringing back a limited-time Thai chicken soup dish that OCRA research suggests can help increase survival rates for ovarian cancer patients together with adopting a healthy lifestyle, a release from Newk's says. Newk's also offers an OCRA-approved shrimp and avocado salad.
For more information, visit newks.com or newkscares.com, or the Newk's Cares Facebook page.