Red tape slows Deaf Can! Coffee's progress

June 18, 2018
Deaf Can Coffee Manager, Fabian Jackson (left) and co-founder Blake Widmer.

A business built on partnership, youthful exuberance and a goal of empowering deaf youths, Deaf Can! Coffee is striving to expand its reach. Now in its third year of operation, the business has garnered commercial equipment, a second shop at their Cassia Park, St Andrew, location, and the business offers barista services at three other businesses in Kingston.

But prospects of increasing their reach and advocacy through a mobile unit are being delayed. A trailer provided through a grant programme with the European Union and Rise Life Management arrived in Jamaica in April but the non-profit entity is yet to receive it.

Blake Widmer, co-founder, Deaf Can! Coffee, opined that a lack of understanding within the various government departments has contributed to the delay in clearing the trailer, that can operate as a food truck.

Widmer told THE STAR that before the trailer was brought in, research was done and he concluded that no permits would be needed because the trailer did not have a motor and it was less than 20 feet long. But he said that he has been given the run around to get two permits, which he later found out were not required for the shipment to be cleared.

"Our goal with the trailer is to be able to take it around...We would use it for events and would be able to go the School of Deaf in Mandeville," said Widman.

He said that getting a trailer would mean that Deaf Can Coffee could conduct barista training virtually anywhere. This, they currently offer at one location in Kingston, the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf on Cassia Park Road. Widman said that the mobile unit would also serve as a pop-up shop and would provide employment opportunities for deaf students transitioning from school to the work force.

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