At the young age of 24, our founder, Katie Vandenberg decided to open a coffee shop. Despite some objection, Katie purchased a vacant house on Jefferson Street in Morton. The house sat empty for several years and needed a lot of work. After a near total renovation including a new roof, updated plumbing, and an electrical overhaul, the house was ready. On February 2nd 2005, Katie once more opened the doors of the home originally built by Eli Messenger, and Eli’s Coffee Shop was born.
The first year was difficult. Coffee shops weren’t quite the staple that they are today. There were many new curves to adapt to and many customers to win over. Katie only had a few employees and was doing much of the work herself.
In 2006, Katie met her husband Ben. Ben was an Eli’s regular and helped take Eli’s to a new level, with Katie at the helm. Business continued to grow and Katie added new equipment and more employees. As the years went by, business was doing so well that Eli’s was beginning to outgrow the Morton location. The demands of catering and an expanded baking selection meant that the small kitchen in the back just wasn’t cutting it. Katie and her manager, Rachel Berchtold, started looking for a new location with more space for baking and storage. After a long search, they found a place in Tremont that fit the bill perfectly. Eli’s at the Tremont Depot was opened on February 11th 2014. With the additional space and large commercial kitchen, Eli’s was able to expand its lunch selection and take on much larger catering orders. Business continued to grow and a new community fell in love with Eli’s.
In January of 2015, it was clear to Katie that she was ready to make a transition. With a second child on the way and many more responsibilities now than in years past, she felt as though she had taken Eli’s as far as she desired. On April 2nd, 2015 Rachel Berchtold purchased the majority ownership in Eli’s. Having been a long-time employee and instrumental in opening Tremont, Rachel was ready to begin leading the business. With a focus on strong community and continued growth, Rachel, alongside her husband Weston, is excited for the future of Eli’s and its impact in our area.
Our values fall under two separate items. The first is our Identity, who we are as a business. This expresses the essence of Eli’s and should as your foundation for what it means to be a member of the Eli’s Family. The second item is our Mission Statement. This gives purpose to our identity as knowing who we are simply isn’t enough. We also have to know where we’re going and what our goals in this business are. The
Mission Statement outlines those goals and gives us direction as we grow.
Our Identity: Eli’s is the oasis in the busyness of the day. That special place in between your home and the rest of your life. We serve strong, carefully brewed coffee and espresso, homemade treats, and a great deli selection. Everything is made with the freshest ingredients and served by smiling faces who know your name. Serving our community is our highest goal and we work daily to improve the lives of our neighbors and enrich the local history around us.
Our Mission: Our mission is to connect with our communities and customers through delicious coffee, homemade treats, and a fresh deli selection, preserving the rich heritage that we’ve been entrusted with.
Our Pillars serve as our core beliefs in our business. They appear in Our Identity and our Mission Statement. Our Pillars are the bedrock of our beliefs and all of our decisions are checked against the Pillars. Whether we’re talking about growth, customers, employees, or any other area of the business, we always ask ourselves if is in sync with our Pillars. If you ever have a question about what we stand for, you can always look here.
1. Connection – We form a bond with our employees (The Eli’s Family) and our customers. We deeply value our employees and ensure that they have the right tools and training to do their jobs. We know our customers by name. We know their favorite drink. Each time they come in, we make a connection with them, building a relationship.
2. Community – Our locations are deeply involved in their local communities. Through our Donate a Day and Drink of the Month programs, we support and empower those around us. We’re an advocate for our community, bringing truth to the phrase, Coffee with Heart.
3. Heritage – We take our history and the history of our community around us very seriously. We believe that by learning from our past, we gain wisdom for our future. We don’t build new buildings for our locations but restore places rich in history and memory. We build on the past, not destroy it.