Matt Grahn Norwich Bulletin, Conn.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Matt Grahn reports, "Nurses and veterans, Kari Herndon and Jessica Persad say they're prepared for the daily grind of running a coffee shop."
"Once you're a nurse, you're always a nurse," Persad said.
The two tentatively plan to open Cream, a coffee shop at Foundry 66 on Franklin Street the first week of November, and will eventually run the coffee shop furevivll time.
"I think they're focused; they're dedicated," Matthew DuTrumble, owner of Craftsman Cliff's Roasters in Norwich said. "They've been getting the education, they're asking the right questions, and I think they're going to put forward a fantastic experience."
Cream will feature Craftsman Cliff's Roasters' beans, as well as replace the role of cafe DuTrumble's business used to play downtown. He's even giving Herndon and Persad a few of his old recipes.
The pandemic made DuTrumble switch to a coffee bean roasting business, he said.
Mary Riley, the community manager for Foundry 66, part of the Norwich Community Development Corporation is excited to see a café back in downtown Norwich.
The inherent role of a coffee shop is to serve as a gathering place for the community, increasing how much time people spend in downtown Norwich, she said.. People can meet for work, wait for appointments, or just relax.
"It's something desperately need for downtown, and on Franklin St. in particular," Riley said. If you peer inside their storefront right now, you'll see a nice long couch with tables and chairs, with a coffee machine and mugs displayed on the wall, as the owners want a relaxed atmosphere. However, there's still plenty of work to do to open in the coming weeks.
"There's a lot of cleaning, a lot of stocking, and a lot of practicing the art of coffee, because coffee is an art," Persad said.
Persad said they found time during the pandemic, while still working, to explore their love of coffee. However, Herndon's husband and Persad's brother Joe Herndon, owner of the American Stitch Lab next door, motivated the two to make it a reality.
"Joey has been a driving force behind Cream," Persad said. "He's someone who says 'if that's your dream, pursue it.'"
Riley has also helped Herndon and Persad. She's interested in Cream's creative use of the space, and the energy Persad and Herndon have toward their business.
"They reached out to make sure their offerings are lining up with what people want," Riley said. Herndon also understands the importance of a coffee shop for the downtown.
"Downtown Norwich definitely needs a safe gathering place," Herndon said.
Riley also said the coffee shop "helps reshape the image of downtown." The city wants a walkable, friendly downtown like in the past, she said but added some don't feel that way anymore. However, projects like this "help spark that potential," for reviving the feeling of a connected community.
For now, Persad said she's happy to be part of a revival of downtown Norwich, with plenty of new businesses that have opened in recent years.
"Hopefully, it gets things going and more entrepreneurs come in and open up a business and serve the local community," Persad said.
Looking forward to the future, Herndon said Cream wants to be a part of the community while they "perfect the craft of coffee." ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.