Uplifting the South Side, Sip by Sip

A spotlight is shining on the Parsons Avenue corridor. Redevelopment and reinvestment efforts are lining the principal artery of Columbus’s South Side with new housing options, institutional anchors, and places to sit for a bite and a sip. Among them is a unique venture by Community Development for All People, or CD4AP. The faith-based development organization collaborates with investors and stakeholders to improve the quality of life for all South Side residents. By improving social determinants of health, building affordable housing, and providing key programming, CD4AP helps the South Side achieve its hopes, dreams, and aspirations.


Proposed renderings for the South End Cafe


Their latest project does just that—a social enterprise coffee shop with a mission to improve outcomes for the community. That mission is being achieved twofold: providing job training to returning citizens or those unemployed for extended periods, and offering affordable, healthy meals to South Side residents. South End Café will open its doors this spring at 1951 Parsons Avenue to do just that. To help the cause, the Neighborhood Design Center provided interior renderings of anticipated finishes and artwork to support visioning. NDC also assisted CD4AP in developing a new website that plans to allow for online ordering when the café opens.


Construction at the future South End Cafe, via Columbus Business First


The café will focus on providing job training in soft and hard skills so that employees can leverage their experience into future full-time employment. Relationships between CD4AP and South Side employers will help bridge that connection. The café will also provide a social space for the community. South Side residents will find room to hold meetings and activities, build relationships, and ultimately advance community transformation. Altogether, South End Café will become a community staple that uplifts locals no matter their background.


Proposed rendering of South End Cafe


The café is not CD4AP’s only social enterprise. Bikes for All People, a full-service bike shop, provides affordable and reliable services to support and encourage bicycling in the neighborhood. The All People Arts gallery launched in 2018 to provide intersectional art experiences that breaks down barriers to connect people from all walks of life. As the third social enterprise from CD4AP, the South Side Café will fit itself into the South End Hotel Apartments development. CD4AP is working with Kelley Companies to preserve the historical building and provide 24 affordable apartment units. All parties hope to spur further redevelopment of affordable housing and commercial space on the Parsons Avenue corridor.