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Stephanie Ford and Sonja West have been in the cafe business since Oct 2019. Photo: CoffeeCreamandDreams
Stephanie Ford and Sonja West have been in the cafe business since Oct 2019. Photo: CoffeeCreamandDreams

How a love of coffee became a career for the owner of Coffee Cream and Dreams on Fairmount

The two-woman coffee shop also makes an effort to sell pastries made in nearby bakeries along with coffee and tea.

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Stephanie Ford, the owner of Coffee Cream and Dreams, always wanted to open up a cafe that she could call her own.

From the distinct aroma that lingers in the cafe, to the different variations of coffee, Ford knew that her calling was to be a coffee shop owner.

“Most people who know me, know that I always wanted to open a cafe because I love coffee so much,” said Ford.

The quaint cafe on the corner of 15th and Fairmount offers Le Colombe coffee, hot chocolate, and different blends of tea that come loose, and Ford bags them herself.

“We also play with different flavors, we come up with all kinds of drinks, we have a Sonja special [named after her business partner], which is a caramel-vanilla latte,” she said.

Ford and West are the only two employees at the shop with their minds set on their own business.

“I used to be a legal assistant for 30 years, and my business partner was about to retire from her job at Verizon,” said Ford. “I texted her about opening a cafe, and it all started from there.”

Ford, who was born and raised in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, does not regret her decision to open her own business in October 2019. She has made close friendships with her regulars who come every day to get their morning cup of coffee.

“We have regulars that we know by drinks, we know them by order, we even know their puppies,” said Ford.

On weekends, local families in the neighborhood have flocked to the cafe for some treats as a way to unwind and relax amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even throughout the pandemic, the neighborhood rallied for our cafe, they even bought some gift cards from us because they wanted to help our business out,” she said.

Coffee Cream and Dreams only closed for a short amount of time, but since many local bakeries around her closed their doors for fear of spreading the virus, it was a difficult challenge to find pastries that she could sell at her shop.

“It was so tough trying to find places that were open, it was a little rough patch, but we made it through,” she said.

While other coffee shops were closed, Ford’s wasn’t, which gave her the attention from frustrated locals craving some normalcy and coffee.

“People didn’t have anywhere to get coffee, so we heard a lot of people saying, ‘we’re so glad you’re open,’ people were pretty good to us,” she said.

Ford offers a unique space for locals who want a cup of coffee while studying for exams or to spend time with a friend. She even welcomes dogs, her favorite animal, to stop by.

“I have a bunch of puppies that come in and see me, I just love building relationships with my neighbors,” said Ford.

When Ford and West need the extra help, their friends stop by and lend a helping hand.

“They come by to chat, but I put an apron on them,” she joked.

Another crucial goal of her small business is to support other small businesses in the Philly area by buying their baked goods and selling them at her spot.

“We sell vegan options that come from Crust Vegan Bakery,” she said. “We also go to a local Jewish bakery and get some traditional Jewish baked goods like rugelachs, our customers love them.”

Coffee Cream and Dreams is not like other cafes around Philly. Ford always makes sure that customers are greeted and feel comfortable when they come in.

“We make sure we have a lot of interaction with people who stop by,” she said.

Whether you’re a latte drinker or an Americano enthusiast, Coffee Cream and Dreams has you covered. 

So stop by 1500 Fairmount Ave, where Stephanie Ford will be sure to greet you with coffee and dreams in hand. 

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