Loca Mocha, the popular downtown Brookfield coffee shop at 8836 Brookfield Ave., is looking to expand its footprint in the Grand/Prairie business district by opening up a satellite location inside the Prairie Avenue train station next year.
Brookfield village trustees are expected to ink a lease agreement with the owners of the business, Silvia Mancilla and Maria Verduzco, as early as December that will allow them to begin work that would include installing a sewer line and constructing a service counter, an ADA-accessible unisex restroom and a storage area.
If all goes as planned, the coffee shop could be up and running by late spring, said Martin Serwinski, a longtime downtown business and property owner serving as the business’ spokesman. He pitched the project to members of the village board at their Nov. 28 committee of the whole meeting.
“It’s a no-brainer,” said Serwinski. “It’s an asset to the community and the business.”
Loca Mocha is in its 14th year as a business in downtown Brookfield. While a popular stop off for commuters and a home base for a core of regulars, the business has always suffered from being isolated on the north side of the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad tracks.
It’s not always easy for time-strapped commuters heading to downtown Chicago in the morning to make it over the tracks and back in time to catch their trains. Opening up a small 550- to 600-square-foot shop inside the western end of the train station will allow Loca Mocha to capture morning commuters who gather on the south platform.
According to Serwinski, the plan is for the train station shop to be open Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. until 1 or 2 p.m. and on Saturday mornings. The shop likely would also be open on select Sundays if there’s a morning event in the downtown area.
Nick Greifer, the village’s director of community and economic development said that the village is planning to lease the space annually for $15 per square foot, which would result in revenue to the village of about $9,000.
Loca Mocha, which will maintain its location north of the tracks, is working in partnership with the village to complete engineering for the station improvements, though Loca Mocha would be funding the cost of the improvements themselves.
“We believe this to be a win-win with a number of benefits for the community,” Greifer said. “It will help the business diversify by getting more customers south of the train line. From a community standpoint, it’s an amenity for commuters and it’s a funding source for the village.”
The last time there was a coffee shop inside the train station was almost a decade ago. In 2006, Brookfield leased space in the train station to HeadsUp Coffee, which also had operated within the station in the late 1990s. The shop operated until about 2008.