There’s a certain charm in being afforded the opportunity of walking a block or two to the local coffee shop for your morning coffee, bagel, or tasty pastry. In our urban environment, cafes represent a detached sphere. They remain the same and are moved neither by the rites of spring nor the hounds of winter.

In Fairmount, neighbors will be privy to this opportunity in the spring when the Fairmount Coffee Company opens at 26th and Poplar. We wrote about the potential of a shop opening at this corner location last summer. Members of the Fairmount Civic Association are interested in adding another quality neighborhood corner café to their streets, and supported the desired variance to make it happen. When the shop opens, hopefully on May 1st, Fairmount Coffee Company will stand as liaison between the community and the arts, all while serving La Colombe coffee, sandwiches, bagels, desserts and dairy produced by local artisans and farms.

The building

Soon-to-be owner and operator Toyin Ajayi-Frankel and her husband lived in Seattle for 17 years before they moved to Philly. There they founded and operated Rakumi Arts International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating African arts and culture.

“Since we’ve moved to Philadelphia we’ve tried to find ways to replicate that,” said Ajayi-Frankel.

Both wife and husband are involved in the local arts scene, from performing to visual, they plan to host readings and other events at the shop. For the past eight years they’ve been dealing with the bliss of raising teenagers. Now the kids are in college and the couple has time to revisit their passion.

Across the street... North Star Bar in the distance.

Signs point to potential success for Fairmount Coffee. Those who live on the blocks between Fairmount and Girard Avenues already have a few coffee options, including OCF Coffeehouse, Rybread (and its new Brewerytown location) and two Mugshots locations. The new shop will benefit from good visibility at 26th and Poplar, where the 15 Trolley passes by at least half a dozen times an hour. Hopefully, North Star music lovers as well as residents will patronize the business. And if someone could ever develop the giant vacant lot across the street, the cafe would have even more customers just a few steps away.

–Lou Mancinelli