KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knox Pride is hoping to open a community outreach center and other all-inclusive businesses nearby are excited for the center to open.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone and everything; in fact, Knox Pride had to cancel their annual pride parade for the second year in a row.

For Joslynn Fish, “I found myself for the first time since I was 15 unemployed.”

That wasn’t going to stop her though from making her dream into a reality. In the middle of the pandemic, she decided to open up a small coffee shop in South Knoxville.

“There’s very little social sober spaces and so I wanted to provide a place where people can come together where alcohol wasn’t the center of the room,” she said. “There was nothing to lose. If I happened to fail I would have learned something but here’s the thing, what if I succeeded?”

And succeed she did; now relocating to a bigger space for her growing business – South Press Coffee Shop.

Joslynn said she created the coffee shop with one goal in mind: “If you find out there scary, to be a very scary place, no matter where you come from in life then this is the place that you should come and be okay for a minute.”

She’s glad that there is going to be another place in South Knoxville for people to feel “okay” in their own skin.

Knox Pride is hoping an outreach center will help them connect with the community year-round.

“We are hoping to have a place where people can come and have access to resources, they can have meetings,” explained Nick D’Alessandro with Knox Pride.

D’Alessandro adds, “it’s been really hard this past year for everybody and I’m sure there’s going to be 50 people that will tell you that every time that you talk about Covid [they] are struggling and know that your struggle is your struggle. It is a valid position given what’s been going on.”

Like South Press Coffee Shop, the Outreach Center will be a place for people in the LGBTQ+ community to connect.

“They have a great plan going into it in terms of providing services to the community, something that we can’t do here,” said Fish.

Joslynn said it’s another step in the right direction for Knoxville, “I think that we’re making progress and what progress looks like is resources, resources available to them that they didn’t have before. that’s what progress looks like to me.”

Her first dream was a coffee shop and now she dreams of an all inclusive community, “I think that the most important thing is to navigate by love and that’s what we do.”

Now with an Outreach Center in sight, she said, “I’m excited to see what they do with it.”

Knox Pride plans to open a community outreach center in South Knoxville next month. South Press Coffee Shop is opening at its new location on June 21.