Terça-feira, 23/7/2019 | : : UTC-4
The Reflection

KPEP’s Walnut and Park puts the ‘pep’ in preparation

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Walnut and Park’s outdoor signage facing Walnut street in downtown Kalamazoo. Next door is Kalamazoo’s KPEP building location. Photo by Tova Carter.

Walnut and Park, located on the corner of Walnut street and Park street in downtown Kalamazoo offers a simple and pristine atmosphere perfect for meetings or personal work. A stark contrast from some of the other coffee shops in Kalamazoo and unlike many locations, Walnut and Park is the perfect place for the matured business person.

Walnut and Park opened up late last year as a part of the KPEP program, which “operates residential and non residential programs for adult offenders as a community based alternative to incarceration.” Meaning, it is a probation system for previously incarcerated individuals who need more structure than traditional probation provides, but where more jail time has been deemed unnecessary.

Almost every employee at Walnut and Park is a graduate from the KPEP culinary arts program. This means the food is amazing. While some local coffee shops outsource its baked-goods to third-party local bakeries, everything at Walnut and Park is house made, and this has resulted in some of the best food I have had the pleasure to ingest (at a coffee shop). I got a cheese bun, and a yogurt parfait.. The cheese bun was the perfect balance between crispy, chewy, and soft, but the yogurt parfait was just about your average parfait. The fresh strawberries on top did serve as an added bonus.  

The latte I ordered was mediocre, but the regular cup of coffee I had afterwards was on par with a lot of the local artisan coffee shops. However, when you go you do not really expect to have absolutely stellar coffee, and that is completely okay. The coffee shop is more similar to Starbucks, than an individually unique store that prides themselves on the “Best Cup of Joe.”

Walnut and Park does, however, have the unique feature of a small boardroom, available for public rental. The room has a flat screen TV and a large oval table, surrounded by office chairs. It is, fittingly, called The Boardroom and is available for rental online. There are different rental packages and various services for each package; like an included carafe of coffee or a pastry tray. It is the perfect location for a driven project group to meet up and work.

Walnut and Park provides a great and business casual setting to do work, and meet. It is not unique on the surface, but the partnership with Kalamazoo KPEP makes it a unique business model ,that not only gives the buyer a great product, but the supplier the tools and structure needed to reintegrate into everyday life. Purchasing from Walnut and Park is one of the best, and simplest ways to support your community.



[caption id="attachment_23989" align="alignleft" width="300"] Tova Carter poses for mug shot.[/caption] This year is my first year on newspaper, and my final one at Gull Lake high school. I’ve always wanted to do newspaper but never seemed to have the time. I enjoy writing and have a passion for news.  


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