Celebrate a community leader in Kensington, Port Richmond & Fishtown!
Leading in partnership with community
Reprinted from PACDC Magazine
Franny Lou’s Porch, located at the corner of Coral and York Streets in the East Kensington neighborhood, is an inviting, warm, and tranquil space created with intention to serve marginalized communities, feeding both body and spirit. This is not just a one-time brag you might find on the Franny Lou’s website, but a central tenet that Blew Kind, founder and one of three co-owners of the coffeehouse, has taken very seriously from day one.
Wellness & advocacy
After studying performance and theater in college, Kind left to start her first coffeehouse, Leotah’s Place. As her concept evolved, she moved the business across the street in 2014 and renamed it Franny Lou’s Porch, a coffeehouse and community space named after abolitionist and writer Frances E. W. Harper and civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, both African American women, artists, and mothers.
At Franny Lou’s, community activism, relational business practices, awareness, wellness, and advocacy are baked into every detail, from the naming of specialty sandwiches, to the carefully sourced ingredients, to the antiracist/anticapitalist books that line shelves and coloring books featuring Black women in restful poses.
Staying grounded, moving forward
Franny Lou’s has undergone some big changes over the past year, which have served to reaffirm the business’s values related to building community in the neighborhood. In 2021, Kind brought on two additional co-owners, Chantelle Todman and Ashley Huston, and together, they adopted a profit-sharing model for the business that includes financial transparency through monthly report-outs and dividing among the entire staff any money remaining after expenses. Kind explains that staff at Franny Lou’s are referred to as the “Tribe” and that there is a big focus on self and mutual care and wellness. “We share values—we love ourselves first, we love each other, and we love the neighbors. And we really focus on emotional intelligence and taking care of yourself.”
Shortly after the change in ownership structure, the building in which Franny Lou’s sits went on the market. Deciding they wanted to own the space outright, Kind and her colleagues launched a GoFundMe page and reached out to partners. In short order they secured the funds needed to purchase the building via the crowdsourcing campaign, grants from LISC and the Merchants Fund, and a low-interest loan from
Kind attributes this success to the skills and energy her co-owners brought to the process and the group’s ability to work together to engage neighbors and partners and keep each other motivated. Kind encourages other small-business owners to “take the time for quiet, turn off your cell phones, turn off your medias, take your retreat, really get grounded … because you really need that grounding to get through the difficult times.”
“We have to rely on community to build—you’re way better with other people. Your mind is beautiful, but it’s just a part of the painting. The full painting is with your community.”
Blew Kind won the Equitable Entrepreneur Award from the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations in 2022.