On November 14th of this year, Franklin Coffee House moved into a larger space, mere steps away from their old location, on Franklin Street. Relocating to a larger space, which now resides at 119 North Water Street, seemed to be the most logical move for a business that is gaining momentum and customer base, as well as growing in notoriety, amongst their business peers. Elsa Dawley, owner of the caffeine and food establishment, has had quite a remarkable journey, since she graduated from Sparta Senior High, in 2017. Dawley attributes her success to the kindness and help of many, but holds her largest thank you for God.
Elsa Dawley was like most students in their senior year, planning for college and getting ready to get out of Sparta, for a world that seemed to promise greener pastures. When graduation time arrived for Dawley, in 2017, she thought, “I really do not want to leave.” Dawley thought she might enjoy a gap year, while deciding what path to venture out on, to begin her adult life, but instead, she went to Vietnam. In Vietnam, Dawley performed mission work, before returning to Sparta, in August of 2017.
Back in Sparta, Elsa was with her parents, Steve and Rachel McPherson, when they were moving their business, Cotton + Birch, to their current Wisconsin Street location. While standing in the old shop, Elsa said, “This would make a cute coffee shop.”
Elsa’s mother, Rachel McPherson, responded with, “Well, let’s do it then.” Elsa’s words had gone from her mouth to God’s ears, setting the wheels in motion on her coffee house venture. Elsa states that she never meant anything by the statement, that it was merely a thought, expressed verbally.
“It was just a thought… a silly statement really,” Dawley said. “It was not even a real idea at that point. But then I realized that there was actually a need for a coffee house in Sparta; a place that would be specifically set up to offer coffee, as a primary focus of the business.”
When the caffeinated idea was kicked a bit further down the street, Elsa settled on the location: Franklin Street. Many of her friends and family pitched in, to help her fix-up and ready the place for the coffee shop. When the grand opening arrived, on January 23rd of 2018, Elsa Dawley opened the doors to her business, debt free. “When I have needed something to come through on the business, I just prayed. Every single time, whatever I needed to appear, did. I am extremely blessed to have great friends and family in my life.”
Dawley explained that it was, and continues to be, a process of learning, with her business. She has gone from one employee, herself, to currently having twelve employees, plus herself. Dawley says that the Franklin Coffee House has also served as a friendship introducer, relationship builder and even a marriage manifester. “My older brother and his wife actually met, while they were both working here,” Dawley said. “God has used my business to foster love, both with those who come here for conversation and a brew, as well as those who work here.”
Elsa Dawley iterates, then reiterates the importance of her vision: that love exudes from every corner and every employee, at Franklin Coffee House. “I am blessed to employ amazing people who not only share my vision for the company, but bring it to fruition with their customer interactions, which are joyful and full of smiles. That is a must for anyone working here.”
It comes as no surprise that Dawley gets her coffee grounds from Bella Goose, an international coffee house, with a base in Wisconsin Dells. Bella Goose uses the profits from bagged coffee to open coffee shops that fight human trafficking, as well as giving rescued victims a stable new start. “Bella Goose is a Christian-run business and they have a wonderful vision, which coincides with mine,” says Dawley.
Dawley speaks highly of her General Manager, Jewel Frost. “Both Jewel and her sister, Kayt work here now,” says Dawley. “It is a great feeling knowing that I have someone who will be able to handle the business, on the day-to-day aspects of the business, for when I start my own family.” The smiles are a notable trait among the baristas at Franklin Coffee House, who keep the heart warmers on constant display. Patrons may enter from the fray of a rough day, but once inside the Franklin, the calm undertones melt away layers of stress, minute-by-minute, sip-by-sip.
Elsa Dawley says that she is but a conduit for God’s work. He has guided her down this path and given her such a wonderful existence, as well as put amazing people on her journey, to help her out, in everything from her business to her personal life. She adores her youngest sibling, Claire (14), being her only sister. “I prayed for a sister, then she came along. Then I prayed to marry someone who had sisters; my husband has five sisters… ‘I’m good,’ I thought,” Dawley said, brandishing a big smile. The high standard for her employees is to match Dawley’s vision, which is simply to engage with every customer on a soulful level. When you walk into the Franklin Coffee House, you will witness Elsa’s vision, firsthand, as it mingles with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, lattes and mochas. Franklin Coffee House is energy for your mind and love for your heart.
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