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New cafe opens at transit center

Fresh start for owner

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Edward Kellogg in The Little Cafe at the transportation center

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Edward Kellogg in The Little Cafe at the transportation center

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Edward Kellogg has opened The Little Cafe in the John W. Olver Transit Center in Greenfield. He serves coffee, snacks, soups and sandwiches.

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Edward Kellogg has opened The Little Cafe in the John W. Olver Transit Center in Greenfield. He serves coffee, snacks, soups and sandwiches.

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Edward Kellogg in The Little Cafe at the transportation center
  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Edward Kellogg has opened The Little Cafe in the John W. Olver Transit Center in Greenfield. He serves coffee, snacks, soups and sandwiches.

GREENFIELD — Edward Kellogg opened his first business this week and is effusively thankful to the people who helped him get there, both directly and through alcoholism recovery programs.

The Little Cafe opened Tuesday in the John W. Olver Transit Center on Olive Street.

At the age of 44, Kellogg is 3 1∕2 years sober and plans to stay that way.

Kellogg said he was clean and sober for seven years at one point, but that was in prison and not by choice.

“Every time when I drank I got in trouble. I did some state time, some county time, a lot of parole time, probation. I was so bad back in ’97 that it got to the point that I would wake up in the morning and have to drink a fifth just to get going,” he said.

Sentenced to two years in the Franklin County House of Correction in 2011, Kellogg ran into something so far unique in his experience: an optional recovery program. Kellogg said he had run into other inmate recovery programs, but they tended to be mandatory.

“The Kimball House wasn’t like that. They were saying if you want a different life come on and sign up, if you don’t want it, you don’t have to,” he said.

By that point, he wanted to.

By the time Kellogg found himself in Orange District Court in 2011 facing check fraud charges, drinking and gambling had destroyed his marriage and his family, and he had seen the effects of years of alcoholism beginning to catch up with his father’s health.

“I lost so much. (My wife) was the love of my life and I still love her. I still wear the wedding band,” Kellogg said. “I see her a lot, but everybody has that point where enough’s enough, and she doesn’t feel the same way I do anymore.”

Kellogg became one of the first four residents of the Kimball House, a minimum security residential program housed in the old Franklin County jail building, neighboring the new jail, and designed to ease the transition back into the community and establish support networks for the newly released.

The program featured classes and community service, as well as regular Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

“It was a great program and right from there I decided that was it, I had to change,” Kellogg said.

Everything since has reinforced that decision.

From the Kimball House he enrolled in a Springfield treatment program, quickly transferring to the Orange Recovery House for a 3 1∕2 month stay.

The Orange Recovery House is one of three long-term residential recovery programs in the county run by social service nonprofit ServiceNet.

Kellogg has a background in cooking, including work at numerous area restaurants and culinary training from Smith Vocational, and he said Recovery House director Mike Wing asked him to do the cooking for the 16 men there.

Wing and others encouraged him to open his own restaurant, he said. His new cafe menu offers soups and sandwiches well-received at the house, including his reuben sandwich. Reubens, he believes, should be made with shredded corned beef rather than sliced deli meat.

From the Orange house, Kellogg got into the Moltenbry Apartments in Turners Falls, and began working toward his new goal. With help from the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission — a state vocational program with an office in Greenfield — including help with his business plan and appropriate attire.

When the opportunity came up he submitted his bid to operate a business in the transit center cafe space, competing with half-century established business Adams Donuts.

He lost.

The rejection this spring came on the same day his father died, a double blow that was not enough to break his grip on sobriety, and months later the Franklin Regional Transit Authority offered him the space after Adams closed the satellite shop.

Proprietor Kenneth Cook said the Transit Center wasn’t as busy as they had hoped it would be.

Kellogg thinks his soup and sandwiches will satisfy a different appetite and bring people in.

The transit center space has a refrigerator and microwave, no stove or range, but he has electric kettles, panini presses and a coffee maker, the latter donated by the Orange Recovery House. Kellogg is starting out on a shoestring budget funded by his part-time job at Home Depot and much of the equipment and incidentals such as soda, chips and paper plates are donated.

“Things are looking better than I thought they would. I’m just grateful to everyone who helped out,” he said. These include his ServiceNet caseworker, Orange Recovery House staff, Mass. Rehab staff, the Sheriff’s Office, the FRTA, friends, family, people he met through Montague Catholic Social Ministries and others.

The Little Cafe — the name is an abbreviation of Little One’s Cafe, in reference to a pet name for his daughter — will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. five days a week on the ground floor of the Transit Center.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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