Api hopes her dream and her space serve as “a beacon of hope for existing and future black entrepreneurs”.
She opened a coffee shop to create a community, and her customers are more like family.
“She’s the one who wanted the village,” said client Anna Rogala, who lives in East Falls. “And that’s what we feel here.”
Api was a single mother in Chicago and followed her daughter to Philadelphia.
“I thought it was the perfect time to change my stars, to do something else,” Api explains.
Api graduated from college working in dineries and cafes.
“People came in, and you knew their names, and they know you,” Api says. “It was so nice and I always kept it to myself.”
The Thunder Mug café opened just before the end of the pandemic, but her East Falls village stayed with her, picking up favorite dishes such as mocha and latte, and her famous benet.
“I’ve probably eaten 150 of them since the opening,” laughs Ragala.
There are croissants and homemade cakes like chicken curry.
“Every night when I close the door, I always think,‘ I love this place, ’” Api said. “I love it.”
As this year’s winner of the 76ers “Buy Black” program, Api really feels like her stars match.
“I have access to their entire marketing team,” she said. “It’s a solid partnership. It’s huge and I can also go to some games.”
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