by Eric Ginsburg


“It’s like everyone’s secret dream to open a coffee shop,” Nancy Lenk says, sitting by the front window overlooking Mendenhall Street and College Hill Sundries in Greensboro. It’s difficult to argue with her — I’m among many people I know who’ve toyed with the idea at one time or another — but Lenk and business partner Karen Archia are making it happen.

The two opened the People’s Perk last week after fixing up an old sweepstakes store. Archia, who moved to Greensboro from Carrboro to open the coffee shop, is still living with Lenk while she gets on her feet, and while they’re still pulling it all together, the pair are excited to run a place of their own and percolate with students and community members.

After spending decades working at nonprofits and in the labor movement, even working together at the NC Association of Educators, Archia and Lenk opened the café complete with a side room that they will both use as a painting studio. For now, their art and a few social justice-themed posters adorn the wall, but they plan display community artwork in the future.

The People’s Perk is having a grand opening event on Oct. 19, but they’re already open seven days a week at 551 S. Mendenhall St. in Greensboro. More information is available at Contact Karen and Nancy at

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