- Kayla Smith
Colados Coffee and Crepes: Arizona's Slice of Paris
Updated: Aug 13, 2021
It’s a crisp yet beautiful spring afternoon in Pairs, France as you and your family stroll along the streets of the City of Lights. Taking in the sights and the scenes, your family stumbles upon a crepe cart on the corner and decides to place an order. After just one bite, you fall in love with this delicious dessert. Little do you know; this French food will come to change your life.
Bringing Paris to Phoenix
How can a simple crepe be so life changing? This is the story of the Reina family. Less than two weeks after returning from their dreamy European holiday, their family was hit with a harsh reality, as Berni and his wife Yesica were both laid off from a company they had been loyal to for over 18 years. The dreaded thought of “what next” loomed over this family’s head, but not for long. Nearly without skipping a beat, the Reina family turned their huge setback into an even greater opportunity: bringing Paris to Phoenix. Berni Reina’s longtime dream of owning a coffee shop propelled into action, and the added desire to include his family’s newfound love for crepes fueled the flame.
Ready to take a leap of faith outside their comfort zone, the Reina family still had some major barriers to overcome before opening Colados Coffee and Crepes. “In the beginning, we didn’t have enough money to open the store. I had to take on an extra job and even pawn our wedding rings just to provide for my family and support the business,” explains Berni. Starting a new business requires taking on a lot of risk, and obtaining funds is often the hardest part, especially because many potential lenders or investors are hesitant to take on the risk. “It literally meant going all in with their lives,” states son Aaron Reina, “they sacrificed everything for our family.”
In addition to money, knowledge was another major factor that created an obstacle during the start-up phase. “At the beginning, we were just making crepes in our garage, we didn’t know anything about starting a business. We just learned as we went along,” says Aaron. One thing Berni did not lack however was a desire to learn. In joining the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Program, Berni gained valuable skills and direction to start establishing the foundation for the business. Aaron states, “It was really encouraging to hear my dad come home from Fuerza with new knowledge and a network of people who wanted to help us out. Gaining those connections and establishing that foundation helped us get to the next level."
Image captured by Grand Launch Media
To this day, the entire Reina family dedicates themselves to continual learning. “We are never finished learning, and we can learn from everyone. If you are constantly asking and persistently learning, doors open,” states Berni. Even after the inauguration of their first location back in 2014, the Reina’s have taken every opportunity to utilize any resources to help them become the best business owners, including joining Grand Canyon University’s New Business Development Center (NBDC). NBDC is an entrepreneurial training program dedicated to supporting the community and local businesses. Led by business professionals and supported by student ambassadors, NBDC trains aspiring entrepreneurs to take their business idea and evolve it into a viable model. NBDC brings tremendous value to the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the Valley by preparing business owners for the incubation phase. Though the Reina family had already been through the incubation phase when going through NBDC’s entrepreneurial training, they benefited greatly from the knowledge gained in the program. “NBDC helped us define our 'why'. This is really important because our ‘why’ defines everything in our business, it gives us purpose,” states Berni. Director of NBDC and GCU professor Eduardo Borquez notes the Reina family is an example of an astounding success story. “We are excited to see their growth and honored to have contributed to their overall learning process. Their family is an example of a business that has truly implemented the three pillars of the Colangelo College of Business; ethics, servant leadership, and entrepreneurship.” Being a GCU grad himself, Aaron Reina reiterates this, noting the value he gained through his time as a Lope. “Something I learned from GCU is ethics and servant leadership. Being a servant leader is something we have implemented in our business, always keeping in mind how we can focus on serving others and fulfilling a higher purpose.”
Passing on the Tradition
Colados Coffee and Crepes captures the perfect blend of new experiences and age-old family traditions. The name “Colado” comes from a traditional Mexican coffee process that is commonly used in their own household, passed down from generation to generation. “At home, we would brew café colados sometimes even three times a day, and just sit down and have conversations with each other. Coffee and crepes truly unite our family and bring us together.” Seeing the unity coffee and crepes brought to their family, they made it their goal to continue this family tradition as well as implement this family atmosphere in their community. Though Colados opened out of dire necessity, it has evolved into so much more. It has become home away from home for the Reina family, the staff, and the customers alike. “People come into our shop from all walks of life with different problems. It is our number one goal when they are here to make their day. That’s our mission.”
Image captured by Grand Launch Media
Now on track to open their third location in downtown Phoenix, Colados Coffee and Crepes has experienced insurmountable growth over the past eight years. But even amidst the excitement of this accomplishment, their family has remained grounded. “As owners, it can be easy to get lost in the business and have your ego get in the way. But for us, balance is key." A perfect representation of this balance is Colados commitment to closing on Sundays to allow for intentional family time and rejuvenation for their team. As their team dives into this exciting new season of opening their 3rd shop, their focus remains on keeping this culture consistent across all locations.
From losing everything to succeeding beyond expectations, the Reina family exemplifies a beacon of hope for all aspiring entrepreneurs. Whether making crepes and coffee, interacting with customers and local businesses, or growing their company, Colados Coffee and Crepes truly embodies a business that is founded by family and powered by passion.
Filming and Editing by Grand Launch Media