8.13.2014

Focus on Humanity café and gift shop closed



After four years at 26 Station Lane, Focus on Humanity café and gift shop has closed.

In a press release, Focus on Humanity thanked Saratoga Springs and everyone who has supported its outreach efforts to assist people in distress during the years the shop has been at the city’s Amtrak train station.

Lady Myah Brown of Saratoga Springs, a local marketing and events planner, turned a 400-plus-square-foot alcove in the station’s waiting area into a one-stop destination for food, gifts, entertainment and charitable giving.

She catered to travelers with a spread of coffee, pastries, sweet potato pie, muffins, fruit and sandwiches, along with T-shirts and gifts. Saratoga Spring Water Co. products and Saratoga Chips were for sale, while the work of local artists was displayed on consignment.

The alcove had been home to several similar businesses in the past, but it had sat empty for several years before Brown leased the space.

In 2010, Brown, a world traveler who reached Saratoga Springs via the Bronx and the Commonwealth of Dominica in the West Indies, said she was looking to appeal to customers in transit as well as to locals. The train station waiting area, for example, with its high ceilings and grand piano stationed in the lobby, could be used as a site for open mics, a jazz performance series and other events, she said.

“I want to turn it into a destination place rather than a drop-off and pick-up place,” Brown said.

A portion of the proceeds from the café and gift shop were made available to Saratoga County residents in need through Focus on Humanity, a nonprofit organization Brown’s late husband founded 32 years ago.

Focus on Humanity has provided disaster relief and recovery services, as well as assistance for families affected by homelessness, job separation, fire and other circumstances. Through the nonprofit, Brown also offered grant-writing seminars.
“There are a lot of people in need constantly, and we try to do what we can,” Brown said.

--Jennie

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