CHATHAM — It was a year ago Friday that Flecks Coffee House & Cafe held its grand opening, and co-owner Zuli Turner said she expects her family-owned business to have many more birthdays.
Turner owns Flecks, 343 E. 79th St., with her mother Olga Turner, who Zuli Turner said came up with the idea to start the cafe after attending an entrepreneur training program in 2012 in Portland, Ore.
Since opening, the cafe has expanded its menu and changed business hours.
Olga Turner, "has spent a lot of time massaging, changing and tweaking the menu to its current point and its been doing really well," her daughter said. "She added a lot of sandwiches and salads and wraps, so we have a strong breakfast crowd."
Ladonna Willis, 58, lives in Auburn Gresham, and said she eats breakfast at the cafe at least three times a week.
"I have never eaten at a place where you can get grits and potatoes on the same plate," Willis said.
Zuli Turner said good customer service is one reason why Flecks has so many repeat customers.
But besides breakfast, Zuli Turner said the cafe, which offers free WiFi, also has a lunch menu.
"Sandwiches and salads have been flying out of the door. We have some folks who just love our New York wraps," which feature grilled chicken breast, mozzarella, roasted peppers and mesclun, she said.
New menu items, all under $10, include waffles, pancakes, grits and several sandwiches like Caribbean chicken and meatball.
When the cafe opened last year, business hours were from 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays. Now Flecks is open from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. seven days a week. Another new feature is a sidewalk cafe that Zuli Turner said Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), whose ward includes Flecks, helped make possible.
As a Flecks regular, Sawyer said he was happy to assist the Turners.
"I enjoy eating there and the Turners are wonderful people. The sidewalk cafe is a good addition to Chatham," Sawyer said.
Every Friday in August Sawyer plans to meet with constituents from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at sites in his ward, and on Aug. 8 Sawyer said he will be at Flecks.
"This gives me an opportunity to bring the ward office to residents and give them easier access to me," he aid.
Zuli Turner said Flecks can be rented for private parties, such as baby showers and birthday parties.
Melinda Kelly, executive director of the Chatham Business Association, said her organization also assisted Flecks with its outdoor cafe and is proud to see it doing well.
"Anytime a business uses our services it makes us feel good. Small businesses are the engines of job creation," Kelly said. "Having an outdoor cafe is going to create more foot traffic and probably a new job for someone."
Monique Vining, 49, said she began working at Flecks in February and loves working there.
"I like the people and atmosphere," Vining said.
Special events are planned at Flecks throughout August to celebrate its anniversary, and Zuli Turner said the details will be posted online soon.
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