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Ross coffeehouse brews a positive connection

| Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 1:52 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal
Beth Diemert, owner of The Perk of Life coffeehouse in Ross Township's Perrysville neighborhood (left), chats with customer Sandy Boody of Hampton Township on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, while filling her tea.
Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal
A Perk of Life coffeehouse owner Beth Diemert (left) discusses new yogurt muffins for the fall season with barista Brittany Elliott. Some flavors include pumpkin, chocolate cheesecake, berry blast and vanilla chip, to name a few.
Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal
Sandy Boody of Hampton Township checks her business email while eating lunch at The Perk of Life coffeehouse in Ross Township. Boody visits the cafe on a weekly basis.
Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal
Bonnie and Tom Ashwood of O'Hara Township frequent The Perk of Life coffeehouse in Ross Township every Wednesday and try new soups, which Tom Ashwood calls, 'Amazing.'

At the little shop in Ross Township's Perrysville neighborhood, coffee comes with something extra.

Beth Diemert, new owner of the coffeehouse previously known as Perry Perk, has brightened its focus, not by changing the menu or beverage choices but by connecting a mission to each transaction.

This is hinted at in the shop's new name: The Perk of Life. It now is operated as a nonprofit through Life Without Limit, Diemert's ministry.

The ministry's mission is to help people discover the Gospel and transform their lives in positive ways.

“I want to use the commonality of coffee to create a better world,” the Cranberry Township resident said.

Those improvements — handled one purchase at a time — could come through a smile, a kind word or a sense of caring from Diemert and her five baristas.

“I want customers to have a place to rest and find solace,” she said. “I want them to feel valued and important.”

Sandy Boody of Hampton Township discovered the shop two months ago while on her way to an appointment. She thought she'd pick up drinks and snacks to share.

What she discovered was good, affordable food and a welcoming atmosphere. Now, The Perk of Life has become “my office on the road” for her work as an oral-care consultant/educator.

“It gives me structure and some companionship,” she said of her twice-a-week visits.

Over lunch or at the end of her day, she can work on writing projects on her laptop, check her emails and reorganize her schedule.

She approves of Die-mert's mission.

“I'm committed to keeping small business and nonprofits alive,” Boody said. “I have a heart for this out of my role as a professional educator.”

Boody spent 24 years at the A.W. Beattie Career Center in McCandless as director of the school's dental-careers program.

“I'll drive 20 minutes out of my way to seek the environment and the food here,” Boody said.

Diemert's shop was a gift from her brother, Rick, and his wife, Lisa, in 2012. The couple developed the coffee shop at 1012 Perry Highway five years ago to be “an outreach to the Perrysville business community,” said Beth Diemert, 51. It still is, but she has expanded that purpose.

Because she finds “the value of human life in the world to be greatly diminished,” the North Hills Senior High School graduate said, she founded Life Without Limit last year. She has 24 years of full-time ministry experience, much of it working in crisis pregnancy centers in other states.

While she enjoyed her work, she felt compelled to begin a ministry back home — and this one features Kiva Han brand coffee blends.

Coffee lovers are invited to join small-group meetings downstairs, where Life Without Limit will have its office. A Women's Café meets on Tuesday mornings for a Bible study.

“Here, they can learn to live above the daily grind,” Diemert said.

Word about The Perk of Life has been spreading among churches and nonprofit groups in the North Hills.

Ultimately, Diemert said, she would like the shop to expand into international outreach by connecting with coffee growers in Third World countries. Purchases of beverages at The Perk of Life might support a village's needs.

“Life can get tough, and people need a little break to deal with the everyday stuff,” Diemert said. “This may be the only place someone is kind to them.”

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

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