Vitality Center could have coffee shop by June

Published 7:30 am Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Albert Lea City Council is slated to vote Monday on leasing out the front one-third of the National Vitality Center for a coffee shop.

Albert Lea City Manager Chad Adams said city staff and Prairie Wind Coffee are completing a lease agreement for the space.

If the lease is approved, the shop could open June 2, the same day the Vitality Center is slated to open and the Blue Zones Walkway will be dedicated.

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The Vitality Center is on the first floor of 211 S. Broadway Ave., the Jacobson Building in downtown Albert Lea. The center was initiated at the conclusion of the pilot AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project in October 2009. It promotes vitality and healthy living.

Adams said under the agreement, Prairie Wind would sell a variety of coffee, as well as pre-packaged coffee beans and foods. The company would also be in charge of selling Vitality Center products, including T-shirts, books and other items — with the proceeds recorded separately.

“I’m very much looking forward to working with the city, the Vitality Center and of course the Blue Zones folks,” said Prairie Wind owner, Kirk Folie, of Albert Lea. “I’m looking forward to the vote and being able to move forward with Prairie Wind Coffee.”

The company would pay $700 a month to rent the space, and the city would provide sewer, water, electricity, heat and ventilation, Adams said.

Prairie Wind would provide soft water to the center, install a hot water heater and install flooring within the coffee preparation area. It would also install WiFi and be in charge of scheduling Vitality Center conference space for use by the public, Vitality Center and the city.

The lease would be for three years.

City officials said in March they hoped to find an entity that would complement the theme in the center.

The back two-thirds of the center will still be used for Vitality Center initiatives and will house activities consistent with the nine elements of longevity seen in the Blue Zones, or areas around the world with the longest-living people.

It will also be a research center and facilitation center toward local, regional and national vitality initiatives and for the development of concepts related to health, according to city officials.