|Over the past 50 years, the once-booming city of Detroit has become associated with urban decline, loss of industry and general disrepair. However, in recent times, Detroit has begun to see results from its extensive revitalization efforts. Signs of this success can be seen in the birth and continued growth of many small businesses, such as Café Con Leche, a popular coffee shop that recently opened its second location in the city.
When it comes to starting a new business, opening a coffee shop is a smart choice: cafes have a 7% annual growth rate worldwide, making them part of one of the fastest growing industries around the globe. In 2008, spouses and business partners Melissa Fernandez and Jordi Carbonell decided to take advantage of this trend by opening Café Con Leche in Fernandez’s native Southwest Detroit. A Mexican-inspired coffee shop named after a popular beverage, the store was originally located at Bagley and 21st Street. However, after a year, they moved to a new shop at West Vernor Highway at Scotte, across from Clark Park. The couple describes their cafe as a “cozy living room for Southwest Detroit,” which residents say has added new life to the area.
Their new location, called Café Con Leche Nord, opened at the end of December 2014 in Detroit’s New Center at 2990 W. Grand Blvd. The new area is significantly different, and Nord is designed to meet the needs of its office and retail-style environment. As a result, Nord has a white-and-blue palette and a long bar, which creates additional countertop seating. Reclaimed wood counters, a mosaic below the espresso machine, and plenty of windows create a relaxed but polished look. The cafe also offers a private room which can seat up to 18 people, making it perfect for events.
Café Con Leche Nord will be open regular hours Monday through Friday, 7:30am-5:30pm. Unlike the original Southwest location, it will be closed on weekends. Nord offers customers free wifi, as well as a menu that includes salads, three types of bocadillos (sandwiches), traditional cafe fare, and special drinks like cubanos and Mexican hot chocolates.
Café Con Leche’s recent expansion is exciting news for Detroit. However, they aren’t the only business in the Motor City that has seen success: reports show that a number of corporations have expanded their operations in the area, while small businesses have benefited from an influx of foreign investors and repopulation. With these small signs, Detroit finally may have reason to hope recovery is on the horizon.