This Saturday, November 27, 2021, is Small Business Saturday. As a small business owner, this holiday season I am shining a spotlight on some of my favorite local small businesses to encourage you to get out and support them and their owners!
Today I am featuring a terrific local coffee and tea shop, Cafe´Conmigo located in Wexford, PA at 10 North Meadows Drive, also known as "across the street from Whole Foods." I recently stopped by to chat with owner Derek Davies and enjoyed a perfect latte while visiting. Derek's family owns several businesses so studying business administration in college and becoming an entrepreneur himself was a natural path for him to take after graduating from North Allegheny High School in 2012. While attending college in Austin, Texas, Derek loved the diverse culture of his college town, meeting and becoming friends with people from many Spanish-speaking countries including Mexico and Central America. This, along with a favorite coffee shop that he visited while in Argentina, inspired him to open Cafe´Conmigo.
Derek opened the doors at Cafe´Conmigo less than a year ago on January 19, 2021. Restrictions from the pandemic were just beginning to lift and according to Derek, people were craving connection and community. In fact, creating a sense of community is something that Derek spoke of often during my visit. Not only community among the guests who come in for great coffee, tea, and locally sourced pastries but also the community of local vendors whose products are sold in the shop.
Over 50 locally owned boutique businesses, the majority who are owned by women, sell their products in the cafe´. Derek contributes a lot of the shop's success to the sense of community that he shares with these local businesses. "We all help each other. You feel like you know the person when you sell their products," said Derek. And to give guests a more global sense of community, a map showing the different countries where the coffee served at the cafe´ is sourced is proudly displayed.
I asked Derek what he would like his guests to know about him. He laughed and said, "Well, it seems like I'm always here!" But then he quickly added that he loves to travel because it inspires him. Being out in nature and hiking is his way of unwinding. And he loves exploring and supporting new businesses.
"I've created a space that I enjoy. It's very inclusive here. All are welcome." Well said, Derek. This, along with the excellent latte, is what makes Cafe´Conmigo so special.
A lot has changed this past year. The list is long and all-too-familiar as we say goodbye to 2020. But one thing that hasn't changed is the love of family and friends, and the love of traditions that come with this time of year, even if those traditions must be slightly altered this holiday season.
As we all look for connections and reasons to be hopeful and happy, more than ever, I believe in the power of a captured moment. Because the way I figure, how else will we remember that amid a lot of not-so-great moments in 2020, there were many moments of happiness, joy, and love?
Enter this sweet family. I had an opportunity to hang out with them a few weeks ago and capture some of their family traditions, along with a lot of love and more than a few laughs.
So much love. So much joy.
We also took time for some outdoor family portraits.
Like many of us, they will stay close to home this holiday season, but their home will be filled with love and joy. Because love has not been canceled this year.
Thank you to all of the families that invited me into their homes (even as I wore a mask during the entire photo session!) this past year. I look forward to working with more great families in the new year.
To everyone, may your hearts and homes be filled with love, joy, and hope this season. And may the new year be brighter for all.