The Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) and the Michigan Restaurant Association (MRA) today announced a partnership that will showcase products from local food suppliers and offer blind entrepreneurs the advanced training they need to run their own food service business. The new Cora’s Café is scheduled to open in spring of 2014 at the former “State Plate” site in the Anderson House Office Building.
“The new restaurant will offer hungry legislators, staffers and visitors a diverse set of quality menu options from Michigan companies,” said MRA President and CEO Brian DeBano. “The new eatery is an innovative way for area job providers to offer and market their products.”
In addition to serving diners and promoting local food suppliers, Cora’s Café will also be home to the training center for the BSBP’s new Business Assistance and Development Program (BADP). The program offers blind individuals advanced training in how to manage and own businesses in the private sector. With the help of the MRA, training will include ServSafe food safety classes, where students learn to implement essential food safety practices and create a culture of food safety.
“The BSBP, in collaboration with the MRA, will provide blind entrepreneurs in Michigan with a tremendous opportunity to attain the skills they need to eventually run their own business,” said Steve Arwood, Director of the Michigan Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. “The café will offer blind business professionals a highly-technical educational experience in the food service industry.”
Cora’s Café will be located in the cafeteria area in the lobby of the Anderson House Office Building on Capitol Ave. in downtown Lansing.
“I’m certain that representatives, employees and guests will be very happy to see the restaurant finally open again with improved customer service and Pure Michigan products,” said Tim Bowlin, Director of the House Business Office.”
Under the BSBP and according to state and federal law, blind operators manage vending routes and cafeteria facilities in state and federal government facilities.
“A partnership between the MRA and a licensed blind operator will be a great venture for the reopening of the Anderson Building site,” said James Chaney, Chairperson of the Elected Operators Committee, a committee of blind operators that work closely with BSBP’s Business Enterprise Program staff.
Cora’s Café and the Anderson House Office Building are named after Cora Reynolds Anderson, who served as the first woman and Native American in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1925-26. The building and new restaurant honor her dedication to the citizens of Michigan.
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