Laura Rodgers and Carola Huttenlocher, with a picture of Mikayla Ferer they display at the coffee shop in her memory. Photos by Phil Custodio
BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
The legacy of Mikayla Ferer, Clarkston High School graduate who passed away in a car accident in 2017 at 23 years of age, continues to live on in many ways, one of which is a local coffee shop.
The Front Porch coffee shop, which opened at Clarkston United Methodist Church in September 2018, was the idea of Ferer and Laura Rodgers, whose son Ferer had been dating for six years.
“We talked about opening a coffee shop some day, some where,” Rodgers said.
A sermon three years ago by the Rev. Rick Dake at CUMC, about returning to a more welcoming way of life as represented by an open front porch, provided the extra spark.
“After the sermon, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I thought it was a great idea. We talked about it for a month,” Rodgers said.
They worked on design ideas for the coffee shop for the newly renovated church. When Ferer passed away, the project took on new meaning for Rodgers.
“Mikayla had a college assignment to write her own eulogy, which was read at her funeral. She talked about the coffee shop,” Rodgers said. “My goal became to open it in her honor.”
She opened the shop with the support of community donations and the Honcho Union Joints restaurant, which donated coffee and start-up assistance. The shop is run by volunteers, with no charge for the beverages they serve.
“The goal when it started was to be open every evening for kids after school, to be a safe place for kids to come to after school and have some coffee, hot chocolate, tea, whatever they want,” said Rodgers.
The coffee shop is open to the public on Sundays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.; Wednesdays, 4-8 p.m.; and on holidays and other special events – church attendance or participation is not required.
“This is just about providing a nice, safe, cheap place to kids to come after school,” Rodgers said.
Union Joints continues to donate coffee, and the church helps them by providing parking for their employees.
“They’ve been more than generous,” Rodgers said. “We didn’t know how to turn on a coffee pot. They helped us purchase equipment and how to use it.”
They serve fresh-ground coffee as well as espresso, Americano, latte, iced coffee, lemonade, and other beverages, as well as seasonal and holiday drinks, all on a donation basis.
Ferer’s legacy also includes the Mikayla Ferer Memorial Scholarship for CHS graduates, supported by the Kicks for Mik kickball tournament, Mikayla’s Miles, and other Team Mik fundraisers.