Coffee With A Conscience looking for new location after relationship ends with Schlitz Park

WWBIC-owned cafe looking for 'the right fit,' no timeline on reopening

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Last updated on June 23rd, 2020 at 01:34 pm

Coffee With A Conscience, a social business café that until recently was located at the Schlitz Park office campus, is looking for a new home.

The café is a 24-year-old social business venture of the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. It has for the last decade operated in the Schlitz Park complex, at 1555 N. RiverCenter Drive, said Wendy Baumann, WWBIC president and chief visionary officer. But it closed suddenly after Schlitz Park’s new owners ended their operating agreement with WWBIC, according to a news release.

Baumann said WWBIC is exploring new locations or business opportunities for the unique coffee shop, which aims to provide economic development opportunities for Wisconsinites who face challenges or disadvantages. The location could be downtown or in one of the city’s neighborhoods, and it could be in a new development or existing building. The most important thing is that the location aligns with the objectives of Coffee With A Conscience, Baumann said.

All profits from Coffee With A Conscience go toward supporting WWBIC and its missions to provide entrepreneurial support to women, veterans, people of color and low-income people. It serves organic fair-trade coffee, and almost exclusively works with local independent suppliers, said Baumann. It also serves as a business incubator for community-based makers and bakers who are launching food and beverage businesses.

“Over the years, we offered support and access to new markets to numerous micro-businesses through our café as well as through our catering and gift box operations,” Baumann said. “We have always been about the ‘buy local’ movement before it was the ‘in’ thing to do.”

Baumann said WWBIC publicly announced its search for a new location this week. It has no timeline for when it’d like to reopen the café.

“To me, it’s all about the right fit,” she said.

WWBIC also has offices at the Schlitz Park office complex.

Schlitz Park’s ownership, a joint venture consisting of San Francisco and Fort Worth, Texas-based TPG Real Estate and Detroit-based Crestlight Capital, has partnered with F Street Hospitality to provide all food service at the office park.

F Street Hospitality, a division of Milwaukee-based F Street Group, announced on Friday that, as part of the new partnership, it would reopen The Brown Bottle at Schlitz Park. The restaurant had closed in spring 2019 shortly after Schlitz Park’s new owners acquired the office campus.

Schlitz Park is a 32-acre, five-building, 775,000-square-foot former Schlitz brewery turned office campus just north of downtown Milwaukee. It was redeveloped by The Brewery Works, the development and ownership group led by the Grunau and Sampson families.

The TPG-Crestlight venture purchased Schlitz Park last year for roughly $101 million.

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Alex Zank, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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