By Sharon Yeo
The founders of Felice Café, a new café and market located near Commonwealth Stadium, are hoping their love for local is infectious.
Felice (the musical term for "happy"), which opened on April 25, is the brainchild of couple Michelle and Tim Brouwer.
In addition to serving drinks and treats, Felice features a market where local vendors can display and sell their products for a flat monthly fee. This support of entrepreneurs extends to allowing participating businesses to access a devoted loft space at Felice where they can network, have meetings, and host classes.
"I just wanted to create a place where local businesses can come together and support each other better," said Michelle Brouwer. "Across my vendors, under this one roof, the support they're offering each other is overwhelming."
So far, Felice has partnered with 20 local companies, ranging from food to personal goods. The café side will serve locally-sourced products to enjoy on-site, in addition to housing items from the same brands for customers to buy for at-home consumption. The companies include Bakenary, Benny's Bread, Caramunchies, DRTY Ice Cream, The Cove Tea Company, Mala Foods, Mama Han Pastries, Maestro's Empanadas, and On the Edge Coffee.
"We purchase items wholesale and don't rebrand," said Brouwer. "We sell everything under that local business's name. We want them to increase their sales, and assume the food wastage costs on our end."
Felice is the Brouwer's first foray into food and hospitality and came as a result of the pandemic.
"I was raised in an entrepreneurial family as my mom owned a local home decor store," said Michelle Brouwer. "I worked in health care and never owned a business before. I took stock of my life during COVID and thought about my passions. Music and love of local were the main things. A café seemed to fit the model where I could wrap all of these passions in."