3/24/23: A business owner’s SOS

Friday, March 23, 2023

High 48°/Low 36° Rain

Fans and patrons of Coffee Rescue, a decade-old food truck-turned-café, answered the call of an entrepreneur in need. Also: Kalamazoo Public Schools’ Board has created a check list of new superintendent qualities as application window closes. And, WMU’s renowned aviation program set to buy 33 new planes with WMU Foundation loan.

NowKalamazoo Feature Story

‘One day, I got to my wit’s end, one day out of 10 years’

An image of the store Coffee Rescue.

After a decade in business and a particularly slow morning late last year, the coffee shop that built its brand around saving people with a custom caffeine fix said it was ready to tap out.

“I posted on Facebook ‘You know what? I made $19.75 all morning long. And I’m about to throw in the towel,’” recalls Jamie Brock, owner of Coffee Rescue.

“When I did that, I found out that not only do I have all those customers from 10 years, that they still support me and want me to succeed, but now I have all the support of all the businesses and that’s surprised me.”

In 2012, Brock turned a decommissioned ambulance into one of the first food trucks licensed by the city of Kalamazoo. They kept the style and structure of the vehicle for novelty, naming it Coffee Rescue. In November 2021, Brock established a brick-and-mortar café and a line of roasted coffee beans.

At 8127 Portage Road, just south of Centre Avenue, the Coffee Rescue coffee shop offers custom roasted beans in classic coffees as well as additional drinks and breakfast and lunch menus for dine-in and take-out.

But doing business at the new location has been a challenge. Click here to read how patrons and other entrepreneurs helped Brock, and how she blends philanthropy into her new coffee line.

A litmus test for the next KPS superintendent

The Kalamazoo Public Schools Board of Education announced the must-haves for the next superintendent at Thursday’s board meeting. It’s a combination of their own list and qualities identified by more than 1,000 respondents to a survey managed by the search firm the board hired, Ray & Associates, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Rita Raichoudhuri resigned as superintendent in December following months of acrimony with the board. Details of the separation agreement are being kept secret. According to emails provided in a Freedom of Information Act request, interviews with people involved, and public statements, she accused the board of micromanaging, going behind her back, and racism and sexism; The board says she didn’t communicate enough, didn’t seek their approval to spend funds to create a district foundation, and allege her staff didn’t follow appropriate hiring practices.

Kathy Schoenfelder, Vice President of Ray & Associates, said 20 people have formally applied for the position, nine more applications are pending, and there are two more weeks until the application window is closed. Candidates who meet the threshold established in a nine-point list could qualify for an interview, likely followed by rigorous questioning, and reference, history, and background checks.

The board’s priority list is:

1. Possesses the leadership skills, knowledge, and sensitivities required to respond to the opportunities and challenges presented by a diverse student body and community.

2. Has a strong moral compass that is rooted in justice and equality.

3. Is able to lead district diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

4. Committed and experienced working with all genders, races, and economic groups.

5. Demonstrates a deep understanding of special education, that meets the individualized needs of each student.

6. Has classroom experience in a K-12 setting.

7. The ability to develop both short- and long-range goals, setting educational priorities to ensure a high quality education.

8. Possesses a knowledge of emerging research in the area of curriculum design and uses data to support decisions.

9. Possesses the ability to use innovation and reform to enhance student performance, especially in narrowing gaps in student achievement and opportunity.

NowKalamazoo Partner Event
Group of people laughing and chatting underneath the text "Eat. Drink. Give. Craft beer. Wine. Great food."

A fundraising gala supporting

logo for Gryphon Place

Friday, April 28, 2023 | 7-10PM
Girl Scouts Program & Training Center

It’s back! Eat Drink Give returns to bring hundreds of guests together to enjoy a memorable evening filled with food, drinks, music, and fun. This gala features tasty creations, an impressive selection of wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages for sampling, an awesome venue, fabulous raffle and auction prizes, and best of all — people who want to make a difference!

The funds raised at Eat Drink Give will support Gryphon Place’s local programs and services, including 2-1-1, suicide prevention, youth services, Restorative Practices and more. We know the last few years have been difficult for everyone, so the joy of celebrating and supporting our community is needed now more than ever. We hope to see you there!

For tickets and more information: www.gryphon.org/edg

More News You Need To Know

$18M in new planes for WMU aviation program

Western Michigan University’s Board of Trustees approved a loan of up to $20 million from the WMU Foundation to buy 33 new training airplanes for its nationally ranked aviation program. The College of Aviation, which is based in Battle Creek, is the only such program in Michigan and serves an airline industry in desperate need of pilots and mechanics.

The 28 Cirrus SR-20 planes – which include a built-in parachute for safety – are 18 years old and are becoming outdated for current flight training demands. With the loaned funds and proceeds from the sale of its existing fleet, it will purchase 33 Cirrus SR20 TRAC airplanes, according to Raymond Thompson, the dean of the College of Aviation. Fourteen of the new planes will be delivered next year and the rest in 2025. The program will also purchase a Super Decathlon training aircraft, which will offer more opportunities for students to develop specialized skills. [WMUK]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

Sponsored by

Lake Effect logo

13th Annual Women’s Lifestyle Expo – Kalamazoo County Expo Center
12pm 3/24, 9am 3/25

University Symposium: The Future Starts with You – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
1:00PM 3/24

Immanuel Wilkins Master Class – WMU, Dalton Center
2:00PM 3/24

Hip Hop with Speak It Forward – Kalamazoo Public Library, Alma Powell
3:30PM 3/24

Huge Guitar Basement Blowout Sale – Milwood United Methodist Church
4:00PM 3/24

Board Game Night – this is a bookstore | Bookbug
5:00PM 3/24

Board Game Night at Table of Contents – this is a bookstore | Bookbug
5:00PM 3/24

Art Detectives: Secret Pizza Party – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
5:30PM 3/24

Music with Steve Kamerling – Brick + Brine
6:00PM 3/24

Tim. Just Tim. – The Distant Whistle Brewhouse
6:00PM 3/24

On The Town – WMU, Williams Theatre
7:30pm 3/24-25; 2pm 3/26

Becoming Dr. Ruth – Farmers Alley Theatre
7:30pm 3/24-25; 2pm 3/26

Blunder Bus wsg Canned Champagne – Dormouse Theatre
7:30PM 3/24

Morning’s at Seven – Kalamazoo Civic Theatre
7:30pm 3/24-25; 2pm 3/26

Indigo Girls WSG Lilli Lewis – Kalamazoo State Theatre
7:30PM 3/24

Immanuel Wilkins Quartet – Fontana
7:30PM 3/24

The Insiders: Tom Petty Tribute – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 3/24

Tony Fields & Doug Decker – Louie’s Trophy House
8:00PM 3/24

KEVA Electric Vehicle Show – Climate Emergency Month
9:00AM 3/25

Art, Music, and Feminism Symposium – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
10:00AM 3/25

What is Kalamazoo’s Culture? – The Kalamazoo Lyceum
2:00PM 3/25

Dragons and Mythical Beasts – Miller Auditorium
2:00PM 3/25

Slow Bell Trio – Kalamazoo Valley Museum
2:30PM 3/25

Poets in Print: Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley and Alen Hamza – Kalamazoo Book Arts Center
7:00PM 3/25

Emma Rey Duo – Green Door Distilling Co.
7:00PM 3/25

The Crosses(ex Die Kreuzen),Death in Custody,Elder Gods,Silicon Heartbeat – Papa Pete’s
7:00PM 3/25

Mustard Plug w/ The Mushmen, Dance Contraption – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 3/25

Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo – Kalamazoo County Expo Center
10:00AM 3/26

See more upcoming events here.

Suggest something to do: [email protected]

Thank you to the community institutions that support our work:

How much is truly local and independent journalism for Kalamazoo worth to you? Contribute today.


Support NowKalamazoo for free: Forward this email to others who value community news coverage.

Newsletter Signup

Sign up to get our daily news and events roundup in your email every weekday morning.