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Mission Housing helps Caffe Centro keep its doors open as workers take over operations 

Editor's note: Please join Mission Housing and the South Park community to celebrate the grand re-opening of Caffe Centro on Friday, May 24, 2024 at 102 South Park beginning at 12:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided by Caffe Centro.

From @caffecentrocollective on Instagram: Thanks for a great first week back! We were so thrilled to see so many familiar smiling faces and to meet some new ones. Thank you all for the continued support!✌🏽

San Francisco, Calif. —  


With the help of Mission Housing Development Corporation, Caffe Centro, a beloved café in San Francisco's South Park neighborhood was saved from permanent closure.


After shutting its doors last summer due to financial reasons, the café has been saved by its own workforce. Recently, four former employees took over its operations to ensure its continued existence as an inclusive community space.  


“By taking ownership of their workplace, the employees of Caffe Centro are not only securing their own livelihoods but also demonstrating their commitment to serving the needs of the community. By working with community developers like Mission Housing, the café is showing others what can be achieved with the right helping hands,” said Marcia Contreras, Mission Housing’s Deputy Executive Director. 


The café, known for its vibrant atmosphere and commitment to a welcoming experience for its customers, has long been a cornerstone in the South Park community. But like many small businesses, it found itself struggling to stay afloat in the face of Covid-19 and was with no hope. 


“It’s not just a business transaction, it’s a community built on respect,” said Erwin Ganschow the now co-owner of Caffe Centro. 


This bold move underscores the power of grassroots initiatives in preserving community spaces.  


“The will to keep going, to take matters in our own hands and apply ourselves to the challenge is what pushed us to accept help from Mission Housing and seize this opportunity,” said Saul Colli, the co-owner. 


As it moves forward under the stewardship of its dedicated employees, the café remains committed to its core mission of fostering personalization and inclusivity with a good cup of coffee. 


Caffe Centro is part of the Mission Housing’s South Park Community — three SROs less than a quarter mile from Oracle Park in San Francisco. The process to rehab all three hotels, including the ground floor commercial spaces, began in 2018 and was completed in 2022. The financing of this project was made possible with various tax credits and bonds, along with major support from Chase Bank and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community and Development. 


“Caffe Centro is providing the South Park neighborhood with more than just coffee, it’s providing the community with access to a welcoming and inclusive space,” said James Vossoughi, Executive Director, Chase Community Development Banking. “We were so proud to support Mission Housing with the revitalization of the South Park projects because when our communities thrive, we all thrive.”


For more information or to support Caffe Centro, pop in and talk to one of the new owners. 


Editor's note: Please join Mission Housing and the South Park community to celebrate the grand re-opening of Caffe Centro on Friday, May 24, 2024 at 102 South Park beginning at 12:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided by Caffe Centro.

 

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