LIMA — Wayne Schwartz has not let being blind stop him from achieving a vision he had of operating a neighborhood coffee house.
Schwartz recently purchased the former Chuck’s Pizza building at the corner of Spring and Woodlawn in Lima, which had sat vacant for many years. He and his wife, Carol, have turned it into a coffee house which also serves baked goods, Italian sodas and some light food like yogurt and fruit parfait.
“We bake everything in-house,” Schwartz said. “We have cinnamon rolls, we have scones, we have cookies, we bake homemade bread here and we also make our sandwiches with the homemade bread. We have a hot beef sandwich and we offer a chicken salad we make in-house.”
Schwartz has overcome blindness to do it all. It is something that he never let get him down. He grew up in a family where four out of five children had vision impairments.
“We had parents that were hard-working, and they didn’t take the approach ‘that well you poor children, you can’t do it.’ No, they gave us jobs to do and they just expected us to work and do our part in the family. They raised us with a work ethic that nothing is going to come to you free,” Schwartz said.
He had a genetic progressive disease that took his sight.
“When I was first born, I could not see anything at night. But in the daytime, I’d probably hit 75% vision, but then gradually that deteriorated. By the time I was in my late teens, I was not able to read anymore. By the time I was in my late 20s, I was not able to ride a bicycle anymore. I’m thankful for the vision that I did have.”
He’s philosophical about his disability.
“Everybody has circumstances. For some people, it’s adversities in the home, it’s some disease. For other people, it’s a handicap. So we all have some circumstances. Are you going to resent that and be bitter and angry and be another miserable person? Or are you going to say, ‘You know what, I’m going to make the best of it?”
Schwartz chose an appropriate name for the coffee house: “Light on the Corner.” It’s basically an outreach for a small home-based church with members helping out.
“We’re a small group of believers that meet together and this is just a vision that we’ve had to just get our sleeves rolled up,” Schwartz said. “We have one person hired, but other than that, everybody’s a volunteer. We’re just trying to make it happen.”
The building had not been in service for nine years.
“When we found it, we began to negotiate a price. We liked the location because it’s a residential location where people can walk to and they can bike to. We can just be a presence here that interacts with people and this hopefully brings good things to this neighborhood,” Schwartz said.
The hours of Light on the Corner are Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.