Fresh Soul Restaurant Inspires Community Spirit in East Central Neighborhood
Spokane, Wash. – A group of community partners are working together to build and open Fresh Soul, an East Central neighborhood restaurant with a mission of engaging and empowering youth in efforts to build a better tomorrow. Fresh Soul is the creation of Michael Brown, Founder and President of Spokane Eastside Reunion Association, (SERA) and Sheldon Jackson of Selkirk Realty, the Fresh Soul Project Coordinator.
SERA, an organization focused on restoring a sense of community within Spokane neighborhoods by inspiring and engaging young people, saw potential within an existing building located at 3029 E. Fifth. That building, Brown explained, had the potential to be much more than a vacant shell of a building that once housed Flipper’s Ice Creamery.
“Fresh Soul is going to be much more than just a restaurant,” Brown explained. “We want to motivate and teach our kids skills that will inspire them to continue their education, and provide a platform for success and to find their passion.” The restaurant will operate as a full-functioning café serving southern-style food.
Engaging neighborhood youth is not the only focus of Fresh Soul, which will also work to revitalize the area. “It’s time we gave the East Central neighborhood the community support it needs,” said Brown. “We want to give the neighborhood a restaurant it can be proud of – proud to support, proud to work at, proud to share with the rest of Spokane.”
Helping SERA to create the restaurant are several community partners including: Bernardo Wills Architecture, Numerica Credit Union, Gonzaga University, and Spokane Arts.
“Our partners have truly made our vision a reality,” said Brown.
Bernardo Wills Architecture (BWA) is supporting Fresh Soul through in-kind architecture and design work. “We are very excited to transform a forgotten building into a space that the whole community can be part of with a shared sense of identity and place,” says the BWA design lead and project manager Damian Cronkhite.
Numerica Credit Union was the project’s first financial donor, funding the project’s early stages through a $20,000 grant. “Numerica is committed to enhancing lives, fulfilling dreams and building communities,” said Carla Altepeter, Numerica’s president and CEO. “Fresh Soul is a project that directly aligns with our core mission by giving teens a chance to serve their community while developing skills that will help them to be successful.” Altepeter explained that Numerica is continuing to provide in-kind support through public relations, marketing, brand development, and media outreach. They are also providing financial literacy support to the SERA tutor and mentoring program.
The project’s most-recent partner, Spokane Arts is partnering with Gonzaga University students to create a mural, led by local-artist Ellen Picken. Gonzaga University’s School of Business participated in creating a marketing and business plan for the restaurant and now students, enrolled in a course taught by Shalon Parker, will help to paint the mural. “Artwork that is created by the community and brings neighbors together is truly owned by the people,” says Picken. “This work will represent the vibrancy and diversity of the neighborhood as well as the sweat and laughter that goes in to making it.” The mural will cover the east-facing external wall of the restaurant, and will take place on September 26 and 27.
2015 Fresh Soul Restaurant volunteers painting a new mural.
While the completion date of the project has not been determined, Brown and Jackson are confident in the progress of Fresh Soul. “We need our community to see the potential that we see in this project,” said Brown. “Together, we can make this vision of serving and mentoring our community’s youth a reality and can create a true neighborhood restaurant founded on building a better tomorrow.”
The cost of completing and opening Fresh Soul is estimated at $100,000, explained Jackson. The project is still in search with individual and corporate sponsors to help complete the restaurant. For more information contact Michael Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or at (509) 995-3606.
Founded through a collaboration of community partners, Fresh Soul is a mission-driven restaurant located in Spokane’s East Central neighborhood that gives local youth the chance to develop meaningful career skills through employment and mentorship. As a program of SERA (Spokane Eastside Reunion Assoc.), Fresh Soul works to build a better tomorrow by engaging and inspiring today’s youth and the Spokane community.
Check out Fresh Soul’s Go Fund Me Campaign.