The People’s Perk Celebrates its First Year in Historic College Hill

Community painting, vintage percolators, and “living room” part of coffee shop’s unique atmosphere

    The People’s Perk, a locally‐owned, independent coffee/retail shop at 551 S. Mendenhall Street, will celebrate its first birthday on Saturday, October 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Karen Archia and Nancy Lenk are the shop’s co‐owners/operators.
    “I feel like we are the little coffee shop that could,” Archia said. “We started with a simple
approach: offer a really good cup of coffee in a comfy, friendly atmosphere, and we’ve tried to
build on that foundation.”
    “One of our customers called the couch, chairs and coffee table near our picture window the
‘living room,’ and that name has stuck,” Lenk said. “Another customer called the outside bench,
‘The People’s Perch.’ It feels like our customers are making our spot their own, and that’s what
we envisioned.”
    In addition to coffee, espresso and locally‐made muffins, bagels and doughnuts, the People’s Perk
also sells handmade goods and artwork on consignment, and provides wall space for artists to
show their work on a rotating basis. The coffee/retail shop has hosted the work of three artists ‐‐
Mary Brusnighan, Jerry O’Donnell and Franco ‐‐ with a fourth artist, Patricia Frinzi, just in for
October and November. UNCG art student Allison Daniel painted the shop’s sign outside above
the bench, and will unveil a new piece for the interior of The People’s Perk at the Oct.18
birthday event.
    Archia and Lenk also have studio space inside the shop. “We are self‐taught painters who paint
simply because we love it,” Lenk said. “We started a community painting at our Grand Opening
event last year and have asked customers to add to it during our first year of business. It’s been
wonderful to engage people in this way, and we’ve had a wide variety people add to it.”

The People’s Perk has also hosted events including:
* A book swap, where customers could exchange fiction and non‐fiction books
* Cakalak Thunder’s pie auction fundraiser in support of its 10th anniversary
* May 2013’s Queerluck, a monthly LGBTQ community potluck dinner
* Three spoken word events, including the first Coraddi‐sponsored open mic reading this past
* Creative Aging Network’s Art Party fundraisers
* An open meeting of the Greensboro Mural Project
“We’ve felt very welcomed to the College Hill community,” Archia said. “Our business neighbors,
students, faculty and staff from the nearby colleges and universities, and people who live and
work in College Hill and in the surrounding communities have supported us and let us know they
are happy we are in neighborhood. We even had a UNCG student, Kyle West, do a video about
The People’s Perk. That was really fun.”
“This shop is our first business venture, and we have really appreciated the positive response,”

Lenk said. “We hope to celebrate many more birthdays here in this great community.”

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