Franny Lou’s Porch
Franny Lou’s Porch
For years, Blew Kind has been creating a homey and warm environment for familiar and new café-goers alike in her East Kensington neighborhood. The namesake of 19th century abolitionist, poet, and lecturer Frances E.W. Harper and 20th century outspoken civil rights activist Fannie Lou Harper, Franny Lou’s Porch seeks to provide cultural awareness, community activism, and “a place of rest” for its visitors.
Often called the “heart of East Kensington and Fishtown,” Blew’s former coffee shop, Leotah’s Place, is where Blew became known among neighborhood members for her community-minded reputation. In late 2013, Blew had to close Leotah’s due to issues with the space, so the next several months raised an impressive amount of funds via a Kickstarter campaign. She was then able to open her new business, Franny Lou’s Porch, in September of 2014, on the first floor of friend and real-estate developer Jim Roletter’s building. Blew heard about Entrepreneur Works through the New Kensington Community Development Corporation, and so she applied and received a loan from Entrepreneur Works that was used for fueling her start-up and buying new equipment.
Today, after its long-awaited “return,” Franny Lou’s has become a welcoming space for the “Afro-futuristic grandma’s house, set in the South”-atmosphere that Blew wants to create. Interested in African-American history, Blew runs her business with the centuries-old legacy an African-American woman baker—whose small business on Market Street housed escaping slaves, children, and revolutionaries—in mind.
Along with its restful environment and popular biscuits and grits, Franny Lou’s also provides customers with computer access and frequent community events, such as hosting local and visiting musicians. All of Franny Lou’s products are organic and ethically-sourced, too, because Blew cares about her customers’ well-being. She is proud of her small business serving as a “place to encourage and foster those who want to live simple, healthy, and aware lives.”
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