CHORD Connections For Life

The City of Naperville could be welcoming a new business concept to town. A company called CHORD is looking to convert the vacant basement of 5th Avenue Station into a coffee shop, but no ordinary coffee shop, this one will also serve beer and wine.

Jen Coffel and Anthony Olivieri met about a year ago through a mutual friend. It didn’t take long for them to realize they had a partnership that would last a long time. Together they formed CHORD, Connections For Life, a new coffee house idea, and the basement of 5th avenue station is the birthplace…

With around 200 residents, 215 employees and more than 1000 commuters, Coffel and Olieveri think its the perfect spot to grab a cup of joe, a glass of wine, or even a beer.

I think this building itself is very versatile, however it’s missing a heartbeat,” said Oliveri. “It has wonderful wonderful businesses and it has great luxury apartments it has great this and that however it’s missing a great gathering space.”

Coffel helped start a non-profit called Handing Hope, which aims to help individuals and families live healthier lives in an effort to avoid cancer. She believes their coffee shop is perfect for the cause.

We are going to be bringing in events here and brining in speakers and when we do events the proceeds from those event will go to support the non-profit and the work that we are trying to do and the people that we are trying help meet their needs,” said Coffel.

Olivieri went a step further. His vision is an urban planning concept that takes vacant real estate along public railways and revamps it into a place to not only make connections, but to just kick back and relax.

Olieveri has experience with this concept in Phoenix Arizona, but the problem in Naperville is that there isn’t a liquor license that fits their business model.

The only criteria we have to go on, basically puts them in the tavern license are, tavern license in Naperville are capped license,” said Scott Wehrli, Assistant Liquor Commissioner. “The only way you can get a license is to have the city council raise the cap and allow you to obtain one. The challenge that you face is basically proving that you have a concept worth of them raising the cap because the council doesn’t necessarily have to raise it.”

After going before the concept committee, the liquor commission, and council, they both feel like city officials are on their side and together they can get it worked out.

“Everyone has been really positive about it. The mayor has been positive about it. The people that we have shared it with have been very positive about it,” said Coffel.

I think the liquor commission will take another look at it and see if we can create a license around it outside of the tavern license which it currently fits, said Wehrli. “If we can come up with a license more specific for their potential use, maybe we could do something that would be a little more restrictive than a tavern license.”

Coffel and Oliveri believe if the can acquire a liquor license its just a matter of months before CHORD is open for businesses.

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