After an 11-month closure, a line of community members waited outside Poverty Bay Cafe on Saturday morning, eager to support the beloved cafe on its first day reopening under new ownership.
People trickled in to the Federal Way cafe (1108 S. 322nd Place) steadily throughout the morning of June 5. Some enjoying breakfast after their morning walk, others picking up their routine of Saturday morning coffee dates with friends.
“We’ve been coming here for years. We’re glad to be back,” said Ron Secreto, a resident of the View Cliff neighborhood in Federal Way who sat a table with several of his neighbors. Prior to the cafe’s closure, the six neighbors met for coffee every other Saturday.
With the cafe’s reopening, traditions resume.
In November 2020, Dan Olmstead, founder of Poverty Bay Coffee Company and the previous owner of Poverty Bay Cafe, donated the business to local nonprofit FUSION.
FUSION, a nonprofit organization founded in 1993 to help homeless families transition into stability, opened Federal Way’s first emergency homeless shelter — the Pete Andersen FUSION Family Center — in October last year.
The cafe will develop a job skills training program in the coming months for people experiencing homelessness.
“For FUSION, what a great step forward for us,” said FUSION Executive Board Chair David Harrison. What once was a mere idea is now a dream come to life.
“For the last couple of months, we had a plan in place and it was a matter of getting to the finish line,” Harrison said. “[I’m] excited like it’s Christmas.”
Several former staff members have returned, along with some new faces with restaurant experience joining the six-member cafe crew.
With fresh renovations, the brightened space provides the same sense of familiarity.
In the back corner of the cafe, resident Jaye Dryden sat a booth with her friend, Bree Mann. For about six years, the two longtime friends reserved every Saturday morning to have coffee together at Poverty Bay.
“I think we were sitting in this booth when I told her we were moving,” Mann said, who now lives in the Spokane Valley. Visiting for the weekend, Mann purchased four bags of Poverty Bay’s Alki Point medium dark roast to bring home. “This is a good community place, it’s comforting.”
Dryden agreed, saying “I was so happy to hear they were reopening but with a greater purpose.”
The nonprofit provides over 20 transitional housing homes for families in need and operates an upscale resale furniture boutique, along with Federal Way’s first shelter for unhoused families. The cafe is FUSION’s first venture into the restaurant industry.
“It’s a risk, but it’s definitely going to work out,” said Cindy Piennett, FUSION executive board member and treasurer.
A grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration for Poverty Bay Cafe is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, June 19.
The cafe is located at 1108 S. 322nd Place, directly next door to the FUSION Décor Boutique. The cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
For more information, visit fusionfederalway.org.