When three young adults ages 19, 17 and 16 are the owners and operators of an Austin cafe, you’d probably expect mediocrity and anticipate the worst.
But you would be wrong. Very wrong.
Enter Austin (19), Kesley (17) and Sunny (16): Native Austinites and the children of Greg and Jenn White.
If you’ve been looking for that perfect gem of a coffee shop in Austin, we’ve found it. Located in the Windsor Park neighborhood, Corona Cafe is unlike any other cafe in the city.
How It All Began
Back in 2001, Greg and Jenn sold pretty much everything they owned, left their careers and pulled their kids out of school. They did so in order to spend time with one another, educate their children in a unique way, find things they could do together for income and explore the country.
They bought an RV and toured around the country for the next seven years. They blogged about their experience at BareNakedFamily.com. In their own words, “We’ve experienced a bunch of ideas about living on the fringes. Some good. Some – well…just stupid. We found each other.”
In 2008, the BareNaked Family sold their RV. Eventually they decided to return to Austin and take on a new project together as a family.
Owned and Operated by Teenagers
Corona Cafe was for sale on Craigslist in June of 2011. The Whites saw the ad and responded. Within three weeks and with a lot of help from friends, Corona Cafe was theirs.
Uniquely, Greg and Jenn didn’t take control of the business, but handed full control and ownership to their three children. Greg and Jenn fill advisory roles and Greg does the accounting, but in Greg’s words, “It’s their place. They run the shop day to day, do all the work, shopping, marketing and sales. And they are doing an incredible job.”
Austin, who got his first business loan at age seven from his parents (for which he was charged interest), adds “The childhood I grew up with allowed me to run a business at 19. I’ve had successes and failures along the way. The journey we’ve been on has given me the confidence and maturity to do this.”
What Sets Corona Cafe Austin Apart
I asked owner/operator Austin White what separates Corona Cafe apart from other cafes in Austin.
Austin stated, “Living together as a family in 37 feet of [RV] space for 7 years has made all the difference. I know I can stand these guys. The girls do the food and the greeting of everyone; I do the coffee. We all know what we’re good at and what the other person is good at. This place is really more of a home than a business.”
And it’s true.
When I first walked into Corona Cafe, I felt like I was walking into a friend’s large kitchen. The place just has that open feel to it, like you could walk up and open up the fridge.
And people do.
They actually have a fridge at Corona Cafe which is referred to as the Guest Fridge. Kesley stocks it every morning with freshly prepared lunches. Patrons are invited to open it up and select something that they want to have.
If there isn’t something that tickles your fancy, don’t worry. Just ask Kesley if she’ll make something for you. If she’s got the ingredients, she’ll whip up something unique on the spot.
Corona Cafe as Described by Sunny, Kesley, and Austin
Sunny: It is a really cozy place. We’re very family friendly and it is always entertaining here.
Kesley: Very homey, conversational and loving. We just hug everyone who comes in. It is a place where you can really connect with people.
Austin: Everybody feels super comfortable here.
The Austinot Highly Recommends Corona Cafe
This place is a gem. You’ll never find it if you don’t go looking for it. But if you do, you’re sure to return. I can’t recommend this place highly enough. I’ve met these folks one time and they already feel like family to me.
The atmosphere is inviting and visitors are frequently greeted with genuine hugs and broad smiles. Photos from their 7-year journey line the walls and Austin makes a mean 21 hour iced coffee that you don’t want to miss.
Give these guys a shot; you won’t be disappointed.
Corona Cafe is open M-F from 7AM to 3PM, at 1215 Corona Dr. Their phone number is (512) 524-0014. Call them direct and let them know you heard about them on The Austinot. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.
What do you think of Corona Cafe? Do you plan to check it out?