HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — The women with Hagerstown’s “Brooke’s House,” a home for women in recovery, have embarked on an enterprising new adventure. It’s not your traditional chocolate and coffee shop, but rather a new future for many.
Brooke’s House has been lauded as a successful support system for women in the community turning away from alcohol and drugs, making a new life for themselves. That new life may well be running their own business one day, learning entrepreneurship and management skills at their Maryland Avenue retail site.
“Girls getting together and making it by hand, I think, makes it very special, and just the happiness that it brings people, honestly, makes me happy,” said Amber Harkins at Brooke’s House Coffee and Chocolate.
A champion for these women paid a call on the business as they eagerly greeted many customers shopping for Christmas chocolates.
“You have women who are overcoming recovery, learning job skills, working, and certainly the community can come and enjoy a cup of coffee and some wonderful chocolate!” said Brenda Thiam (R – Washington County), a member of the Maryland House of Delegates.
Thiam sees this venture making a difference in the lives of these women.
“This is the best thing that could have ever happened to them, being able to have this program that can support them and their challenges to overcome and to conquer their drug addiction,” said Thiam.
Just ask barista Amber Harkins how special all this is.
“I was always a bartender, and I’m an alcoholic so I cannot be a bartender, and I learned that ‘barista’ means ‘dry bartender’ so I still get somewhat of the experience that I used to and I get to work with people and of course make them happy with their cup of coffee in the morning,” said Harkins.
She’s working a morning that starts at the stroke of six every day of the week except Sunday.
It’s a new business launch with all the ingredients for success. The Brooke’s House coffee and chocolate shop is located in the shopping plaza in the 1000 block of Hagerstown’s south end. Plans are to eventually have a drive-thru and spacious outdoor patio for seating.