While working on his master's degree at the University of Michigan, Noam Kimelman became interested in a project focused on what is known as the food desert in Detroit. "Food desert" refers to the stark, unequal distribution of healthy, affordable food options in the city. The master of health policy candidate was determined to find ways to improve Detroit's food equality situation.
After talking with a professor who encouraged him to find a solution to the problem and "make it a reality," Kimelman took on the challenge and created Fresh Corner Cafe. The Cafe offers catering, pop-up shops, and workplace cafes. With the belief that good food has the power to be transformative, Fresh Corner Cafe works with neighborhood stores to ensure that all Detroiters, including the 70,000 households that do not own a private vehicle, can easily access healthy food options.
Kimelman says his mentor, David Broner has not only been a supporter and encourager of Fresh Corner Cafe, he also helped with setting metric goals. He helped Kimelman consider other operating alternatives, such as renting kitchen spaces from restaurants during their off-hours to keep costs low.
Fresh Corner Cafe is invested in giving back to the community and the future of Detroit. The Cafe pays attention to the nutritional density of ingredients they serve as well as how they are produced and where they come from. The business was recognized as Michigan Economic Development's Top Emerging Social Enterprise in 2013. Fresh Corner Cafe was also recognized by SCORE, receiving the 2014 Young Entrepreneur Award; it was also a runner-up for Crain's Detroit's Social Enterprise of the Year Award in 2014.
Kimelman says he is very grateful for his SCORE mentor. “David is an incredibly warm and friendly mentor and friend. He cares about both my business and me as an individual. He goes above and beyond the call by getting outside the coffee shop/office and seeing the operation firsthand. His experience makes his advice invaluable.”