The experience of coffee should be simple and enjoyable, in your own way.
I’m Fran. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, I have a deep connection with coffee. Growing up, our house was always open for family and friends to stop by for a hot cup and some conversation. I grew up in a big family and coffee has always been a way for us to bond, share stories, debate ideas and learn from each other. My Mother once told me: "Whatever it is that you need to do that makes you happy, it most likely has to do with coffee." And she was right.
Graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a Bachelor of Arts in Hotel & Restaurant Administration and was later awarded a scholarship to continue into graduate studies. I packed my things and moved to Miami to get my Master of Science in Hospitality Management from Florida International University. That’s when I left home for the first time. I left the sun and the beach, my family and friends, to learn and explore.
My 15+ years hospitality industry career has given be the opportunity to live in great cities like Miami, San Diego and Chicago, where I finally settled. Had the chance to work for amazing (and not so amazing) companies. I learned to lead, teach, manage operations and, most importantly, I have met incredible people from all over the world. For this, I feel extremely fortunate and thankful.
CREMA Shop was officially established in October of 2018 in Chicago. A one-person business, it was originally intended to offer coffee based, small batch, handcrafted bath and body products. It continued growing into a coffee brand and with that growth came the many partnerships with other small businesses, including tea companies.
In mid-2020, I took a pretty big risk and leased a space in the Sheridan Park area of the Uptown neighborhood in Chicago, my neighborhood. Located on the corner of Wilson Avenue and Dover Street, this space was in the works for a while, with the intention of making it CREMA's brick-and-mortar and expand the business into a coffee shop operation.
A goal of mine is to have a brand that focuses in a transparent, affordable coffee experience within a space where everyone is welcome and feels safe. A brand that allows me to share a bit of my culture while I learn from others.
As a business owner, my values are aligned with the belief that we all have a social responsibility with our communities. We must find ways to advocate for justice and equity and we all have the potential to be leaders in our own way. We can drive change, both social and economic.
I believe in supporting other local small businesses, especially female & BIPOC owned businesses--because when we support each other, we increase visibility and opportunity for all. My purpose is to continue building a successful business that can become part of the neighborhood, create jobs and contribute to the betterment of this community.
After many delays and obstacles, including Covid-19, the coffee shop finally opened its doors on March 26, 2022. I am grateful for everyone's support before, during and after opening and cannot wait to see you all at 1401 West Wilson Avenue.