In Her Words
How We Met
Born and raised in Northern Virginia, I spent most of my life in Woodbridge. In school I became interested in business and later became passionate about graphic design. The web was born in the late 90s and I committed to learning web design. Alongside my full time gig, I worked as a freelancer with dreams of doing it full time. I was so tired of being a slave to my commute.
For two decades I commuted to the DC area, spending 3-4hrs a day in my car. I was with my ex for 19 years and late in our relationship we started a family which ultimately ended too soon. Our first born child, a son, died tragically at 26 days old of SIDS. Years later we tried again and had a daughter. We both had strenuous jobs and spent most days apart and this took a toll on our relationship. In 2016, I chose to leave the marriage, retaining custodial support of our daughter. It was tough. It was a new world socially. I made mistakes yet the strides I made were big ones that will stay with me forever.
August 2017, at the brink of giving up on online dating, I met Christian. A single father of two. An amazing chef. A broken soul like my own. Our connection was instant. Our life goals aligned – spend more time with our families. On our first date we talked of owning a business. Our second date led us into the coffeeshop that we now own together. The universe was our guide and the signs were abundant. Every day – the right place at the right time – we met individuals who guided us to the right resources for bringing our dreams to fruition.
Christian has struggled with sobriety. At a young age, he turned to heroin as a coping mechanism for working long hours in the restaurant world. Drug abuse is rampant amongst chefs. Christian lost both of his parents to cancer years apart yet years before he himself became a parent. The 10 year relationship with their mother, also an addict, was strenuous and yet they stayed together for the children. They ended their relationship and Christian began a path towards recovery. At the brink of giving up again, he reached out to his children’s mother, also on a path to recovery and now living in Fredericksburg. She bought Christian a bus ticket and he immediately checked into a men’s shelter, entered a Methadone program and obtained two part time jobs. He managed to balance everything while stepping in to watch his boys while their mother worked.
And Katora Was Born
My then boyfriend and I chose to rescue our favorite local coffee shop after it announced it was going out of business. We learned the news one day (12/9/2017), called the necessary influencers day two (12/10/2017) and day three (12/11/2017) we opened the shop. Katora Coffee was born!
After a large corporate layoff and an emergency spinal surgery – we took all that we had to assume control. At the heart of our coffee shop, we are a blended family with 3 amazing children. My 401k kept us afloat with personal expenses and helped us to secure business permits, make lease deposits, pay payroll and purchase inventory.
At the foundation we support healthy living and offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten free dining. We are the only downtown cafe to be 100% vegetarian and this is something we NEVER plan on changing. Our plant-based milk options include unsweetened almond, soy, coconut and oat… and we’re always testing new ones!
We offer Kuleana Coffee Roasters exclusively (organic and single origin) for our espresso, drip coffee and retail coffee. Our organic loose leaf teas are sourced from Adagio and Royal Tea New York. Since opening, we've doubled our tea offerings creating quite the buzz downtown.
We are most proud of the acceptance that we’ve received at such an accelerated rate within this town – from local businesses, students, entrepreneurs, stay at home parents – we are regularly told “we need you.” There is nothing more fulfilling than that!