Non-profit coffeehouse underway in downtown Steubenville

BY LAUREN RAMSEYER
Staff Writer

A non-profit coffeehouse is in the works in downtown Steubenville located underneath the Harmonium Project’s building.

Agia Sophia (pronounced ‘hagia’) Coffeehouse and Bookstore is estimated to open its doors at the beginning of the Franciscan University’s fall semester in August.

“Agia Sophia is a coffeehouse and a bookstore, but more importantly, it is an opportunity to bring a lot of different people together,” said Benjamin Clark, project director, describing how this endeavor mirrors what the Harmonium Project had envisioned.

“It is a communal project … that’s why it is non-profit. I can’t own this business,” continued Clark. “We’ve turned down the big money, we don’t want that. We need donations of course … every dollar that comes in is going to go back out to the next project.”

Clark said that the coffeehouse is associated with the Harmonium Project, which is located right above them. He said that they reflect the mission of the other and that they cannot do it without each other.

“It’s the people that love, live and learn in this place that will bring change,” said Clark concerning the community effort being put forth to create this coffeehouse. He also said that the project will take time and funding.

“A shop is a place where you go to do business and a home is where you come to relax,” said Clark, commenting on why it is called a coffeehouse as opposed to a coffee shop.

There are two other Agia Sophias, one in Colorado Springs, Co., and the other in Harrisburg, Penn., that share a very similar vision to the Steubenville branch of the coffeehouse.

The Rev. Gregory Thompson, who is the “assigned clergy” of the Steubenville Agia Sophia said, “It is going to be the presence of God downtown. The light will disperse the darkness.”

Samantha McCoy, of the Harmonium Project said, “The Harmonium Project is working with Ben (Clark) to facilitate the building of the coffeehouse. It is not our coffeehouse, it isn’t Ben’s coffeehouse … it is the community’s coffeehouse.”

Clark encouraged all Franciscan students to help by getting excited about their arrival, sharing their page on Facebook, and to donate if possible or come down to volunteer time.

Find more information about the progress and mission of Agia Sophia of Steubenville on their Facebook page or at agiasophiasteubenville.com. They are located at 136 N. Fourth St.

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