Second Street Sundries


In the coming weeks, downtown Albemarle will have a new addition to the business community located at 221 North Second Street. Second Street Sundries, owned by GHA Autism Supports, plans to open in early 2015 with a mission to provide employment opportunities for the individuals with autism. Through a management agreement with Sodexo, a leading provider of sustainable, integrated facilities management and food service operations, the café and coffee shop will serve a wide variety of moderately priced breakfast and lunch food items for dine-in or carry out. In addition, the contract with Sodexo allows Second Street Sundries to participate in the We Proudly Serve Starbucks program. The agreement allows the establishment to serve a variety of Starbucks brand coffee products including brewed coffee and espresso beverages. Sodexo currently contracts with Pfeiffer University to provide all campus food services. “GHA has a rich history of working with Pfeiffer collaboratively for a number of years, and this opportunity to create a partnership with Sodexo only strengthens these ties,” said Dawn Allen, GHA Autism Supports Chief Executive Officer. “We want Second Street Sundries to not only be an attractive addition to downtown Albemarle, but to also facilitate Pfeiffer’s continuing involvement in the greater community.”

Current plans are to be open for operation from early morning into the afternoon seven days per week. The building design calls for open areas for socializing, as well as more quiet designated zones for the reader or business person. Plans also include free Wi-Fi and extensive access to power outlets for laptop use. A spacious room in the back of the building will serve as a location that can be utilized by small to mid-size meeting groups. Employees will participate in training modules created by both Sodexo and Starbucks in the coming weeks. All individuals with autism employed by Sodexo will work directly with a job coach employed and trained by GHA Autism Supports.

In addition to the space utilized by the café and coffee operations, the top floor of the building will also house a small retail store which will carry a number of handcrafted items created by the individuals with autism. Grant funding from the Stanly County Community Foundation and the Wal-Mart Foundation enabled GHA to expand its creative arts initiative including the purchase of a kiln for pottery and glassworks. “We are thrilled to showcase the talents of the individuals we support and provide a unique opportunity for them to start their own microenterprises through Second Street Sundries,” said Lauren Fike, Creative Arts Coordinator for GHA Autism Supports. The store will also serve as the pick-up location for the shareholders that subscribe to the Carolina Farms Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Any member of the community can subscribe to receive pesticide-free produce grown at Carolina Farms, a 39-acre farm located in Millingport that is owned and operated by GHA Autism Supports where individuals with autism live, work and play.

In operation since 1978, GHA Autism Supports currently serves over 90 individuals with autism. With the recent statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control of 1 in 68 children being identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the organization continues to expand its array of services including residential, vocational, in-home and community services. “Providing meaningful employment opportunities at Second Street Sundries is a vital piece of the service array offered by GHA Autism Supports,” said Allen. “We would love nothing more than Second Street Sundries to serve as a nationwide model of creating a program to train individuals with autism to be top notch baristas.” For more information about the Second Street Sundries project, contact Chief Development Officer Beth Olivieri at (704) 982-9600, ext. 125 or by email at

Second Street Sundries
Officials from GHA Autism Supports and members of the community gather to announce the addition of Second Street Sundries, a new café and coffee shop in downtown Albemarle. Front row (l to r): Dawn Allen, GHA Autism Supports CE
O, Marianne Bright, GHA Autism Supports Board Chair, Jane Lisk, GHA Autism Supports Board Member, Brinn Smith, GHA Autism Supports Board Member, Beth Olivieri, GHA Autism Supports Chief Development Officer, Victoria Sites, Albemarle Downtown Development Corporation, Mirsad Selimbegovic, Sodexo and Sue Bohnsack, GHA Autism Supports Board Member. Back row (l to r): Kathy Almond, Stanly County Chamber of Commerce President, Ronnie Michael, City of Albemarle Mayor and GHA Autism Supports Board Member, Dr. Russ Sharples, Stanly County Chamber of Commerce Chair, Pfeiffer University Dean of Students and GHA Autism Supports Board Member, Paul Stratos, Stanly County Economic Development Commission Director and Randy Baker, Pinnacle Architecture.