New coffee shop serving up a second chance for employees

Third Way Cafe in the Hilltop isn't just a new business in the neighborhood, it's also serving to give people second chances. (WSYX/WTTE)

A new and unique coffee shop called Third Way Café just opened up in the Hilltop area. It’s not only bringing new life to the area but it’s giving people second chances.

"I feel like a different person, a better person and it all started with coffee,” said mother of two Chaunte Brown.

She is currently juggling three jobs: construction, working at an Irish Pub, and making coffee. She also has a criminal record.

"I'm a recovering heroin addict and I was incarcerated for 4 years and 2 months,” Brown stated.

It's in prison where she said her life turned around.

"When the opportunity came for me to get involved with Coffee Crafters while I was at ORW (Ohio Reformatory for Women) I took it,” she said.

Coffee Crafters partnered with Third Way Café. It opened in the Hilltop area about a month ago.

"We're very big on partnerships in CleanTurn and all of our business lines,” said the founder of Clean Turn Enterprises John Rush. “At Third Way Café, one of our partners is Coffee Crafters and they actually provide barista training in the prison."

Rush owns several businesses, including Third Way Café. It is part of Clean Turn Enterprises which he founded in 2012, and 90% of his workforce are people that have criminal records, like Frank Stokes.

"I was incarcerated for 26 years,” said Stokes.

He got out of prison almost a year ago Friday.

"Now I have an apartment, a car, the job, and I’m the facility's manager now,” said Stokes as he referred to working at Clean Turn Enterprises.

Stokes said CleanTurn Enterprises has literally turned his life into something he never dreamed of. “CleanTurn has been like the stepping stone for me to rise up in the community.”

CleanTurn is a for-profit business. Rush said he uses the profits to re-invest into their program services to hire and help more people.

"Through each of our business ventures we've employed about 3,500 individuals including in Chicago and here. Since we've launched in Columbus we've employed a little over 600 individuals,” said Rush.

Hilltop residents we spoke with say this is a win-win for the community.

"Giving them a second chance, it's a job for them so I think it's great,” said Chole Banks who lives in Hilltop.

"Oh yeah it revitalizes the west side, we need it over here,” said another resident Eric Wright. “It's nice that he's doing stuff like that, and giving people second chances."

And it's a chance for a better life outside of prison.

"I work hard for them because I appreciate it. I'm grateful, I have a second chance at life,” said Chaunte Brown.

If you would like more information about Clean Turn Enterprises you can visit their website here.

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