Local

Genoa businesses donate $1,000 to food pantry

OpenDoor Coffee and Wakoh Wear raised $1,000 for the Genoa Area Community Food Hub by selling "I Love Genoa-Kingston" T-shirts. Stephanie Bradac, co-owner of OpenDoor Coffee (from left), Haleigh Hunger, director of the Genoa Area Community Food Hub and Brian Wallace, co-owner of Wakoh Wear are pictured.
OpenDoor Coffee and Wakoh Wear raised $1,000 for the Genoa Area Community Food Hub by selling "I Love Genoa-Kingston" T-shirts. Stephanie Bradac, co-owner of OpenDoor Coffee (from left), Haleigh Hunger, director of the Genoa Area Community Food Hub and Brian Wallace, co-owner of Wakoh Wear are pictured.

GENOA – Two independently owned Genoa businesses, Wakoh Wear and OpenDoor Coffee, have together raised $1,000 to support the Genoa Area Community Food Hub.

In the spring, the owners of OpenDoor Coffee asked Wakoh Wear to print custom T-shirts with the slogan “I Love Genoa-Kingston.”

“We had the idea to celebrate how our town always comes together in times of need,” said Stephanie Bradac, co-owner of OpenDoor Coffee.

The sale of the T-shirts by OpenDoor Coffee, 502 W. Main St. in Genoa, was intended to help Wakoh Wear, No. 2, 673 Park Ave. in Genoa, offset its business expenses during the slowdown of the pandemic.

“Wakoh Wear’s revenue has been greatly impacted by the pandemic as they work extensively with local schools, sports teams and festivals that have all be canceled,” Bradac said.

More than 100 T-shirts were sold from OpenDoor’s coffee truck.

“I love seeing people wear these shirts,” Bradac said. “It just reinforces why this town is so awesome.”

Instead of accepting the proceeds for their business, Wakoh Wear wanted to give back to the Genoa community.

“Genoa has a lot of heart and promise,” Wakoh Wear Co-owner Brian Wallace said. “In my experience, there is a great synergy with the local businesses and that’s really rewarding. I thought, let’s help lots of people not just my business.”

Together, OpenDoor Coffee and Wakoh Wear decided to donate to DeKalb County Community Garden’s Genoa Area Community Food Hub.

The Hub is a multi-faceted facility including a food pantry, shared community space for education, pay-as-you’re-able cafe and community commercial kitchen. Between July 2019 and July 2020, The Hub saw an 434.29% increase in households served, or 768 individuals, including 446 younger than 18 years old and 60 older than 60 years old.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the food pantry at The Hub has been distributing prepackaged boxes via online orders to patrons through a drive-thru model, as well as collaborating with Voluntary Action Center to provide children younger than 18 years old free lunches and dinners this summer.

“This town takes care of each other,” said Haleigh Hunger, the director of The Hub.

For information about Wakoh Wear, contact Debbie Wallace at debbie@wakohwear.com or call 815-784-2734. For information about OpenDoor Coffee, contact Stephanie Bradac at steph@opendoorgenoa.com or Nick Bradac at nick@opendoorgenoa.com.

The food pantry at The Hub is open to G-K residents the first and third Mondays and the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. For information about The Hub, contact Haleigh Hunger at hhunger@dekalbgardens.org or call 815-761-7313.

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