When does selling coffee also support he community? When Roots of Success instructors Chris Ramsey and Fatina Evans take the lead! The two of them are working to transform the historic Sparta Restaurant and Bar in downtown Newark, Ohio into an awesome cafe — complete with community space and a job training program. The two were recently featured in an article by the NewarkAdvocate, which was impressed by Ramsey and Evans’ commitment to using profits generated by their social enterprise to offer free job training and education classes to Newark residents.

The Sparta will serve hot and iced coffee beverages from Hemisphere Coffee Roasters, a local company that roasts and sells free-trade coffee, along with baked goods to visitors, who will have the option to sit down for breakfast or lunch in the restaurant — with the hope of giving patrons an opportunity to know each other.

But the coffee shop and restaurant are just part of Ramsey and Evans’ plans for The Sparta. On the second floor of the building they plan to set up a classroom where they will conduct free general-equivalency diploma courses, host computer classes, and offer the Roots of Success environmental literacy curriculum to members of the community. Students will then be able to apply what they learn in the classroom to helping with the continued development and renovation of The Sparta’s building. Along with their Roots of Success trained participants, Ramsey and Evans hope to begin teach cooking classes, serve community meals, renovate The Sparta’s basement, and start a residential leadership and development studio.

If ‘The Sparta’ proves to be successful, they hope to expand their innovative model of community development to other areas. Be sure to stop by for a cup of coffee next time you’re in town!