Alana and Scott Davis gave up lucrative corporate careers to pursue one of the riskiest businesses in the country.
It has become a mantra that one hears on TV shows like “American Idol,” “Shark Tank” and so many others: “Don't just pursue the money; follow your dreams; follow your passion; do what you love, even though there will be sacrifices. You will never regret it!”
Wyndmoor residents Alana Davis, a former Comcast executive, and her husband, Scott, a former IT professional, may not have ever watched these TV shows, but they are members of the choir these shows have been preaching to. Both gave up lucrative corporate careers to pursue one of the riskiest businesses in the country.
In August of 2019, they opened Locals Coffee Eatery at 909 E. Willow Grove Ave. in Wyndmoor, a coffee shop that was an immediate hit, thanks in part to their swoon-worthy homemade baked goods like the crumb cake, muffins and gluten-free banana bread, harmonious mates to the pumpkin pie latte.
Before long, they had a loyal following, like the Germantown Friends School mothers who would enjoy coffee, pastries and conversation after leaving their children off at school. But then came the pandemic seven months after making their coffee shop debut.
“We managed to survive,” Alana said, “thanks to this amazing community that helped us through the pandemic with donations, massive food and coffee orders and amazing support.”
In fact, they were so successful that on March 9 of this year they moved the coffee shop to a larger space just one block away to 800 E. Willow Grove Ave., which has an additional 300 square feet. Also, since the new location was formerly a Santander Bank branch, there is a drive-through option, which many customers have been using.
Since they were still paying on the lease at 909 E. Willow Grove Ave., however, they decided to make good use of it, and in June of this year, after a year of planning, the Davises opened Froot Cafe in the 909 location. The word “Froot” is a mash-up of Fruit and Roots (fruits and vegetables).
In the newest venture, the Davises joined forces with longtime friend Susan McGoldrick, of Glenside, who previously had an interior design business in the area for 15 years, and her husband, Jim. The couples’ daughters, now roommates at Temple University, have been best friends since elementary school. The Davises and the McGoldricks, who are as focused as a guided missile, agreed that the community was lacking a breakfast/lunch option with smoothies, fresh salads and grain bowls.
Alana is definitely “old school.” She greets every customer who comes in and thanks them on the way out. When we visited at the lunch hour on a recent Wednesday, there was a steady stream of customers.
Froot offers an array of original menu items from the Mango Lassi Smoothie to the Zeus Greek Grain Bowl as well as the ability to “Build Your Own,” seasonal specials. Froot also offers a catering menu and mobile ordering.
Every item we tasted sang in harmony, especially the Build-Your-Own salad.
Each bite passed across my palate with a different balance of sweetness, creaminess and crunchiness. And the prices are quite reasonable.
Chris Kirchner, a customer who lives nearby, said he is a regular at both Froot and Locals. “This is much healthier than the food I normally eat at home,” he said. “I am a very picky eater, so I like the build-your-own.”
Barrett Stewart, another regular customer and an agent for Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate who lives nearby, said “This is a great addition to the neighborhood. I get prepared protein bowls and smoothies, healthy alternatives with good-sized portions, enough for two. My daughter, Emma, who is studying nutrition, helped create the smoothies.”
Froot has outdoor seating for 15 and an adjacent parking lot. They will soon start deliveries on weekdays. A local chef, Colette Barlo, does all of the baking. Hayley Dennis, a charming Springfield High School graduate, is the manager.
Kristen Saponaro Markert, of the Norwood-Fontbonne Academy Parent Association, told us, “We had the opportunity to use Froot to cater a 55+ person event at school, and I’m so glad we partnered with them. Not only was the food fresh, delicious and plentiful, but ... Susan and Alana demonstrated how talented they are in bringing a vision for an exceptional event to life.”
Kelly Creighton, of the Springfield Township High School Life Skills/Autistic Support Class, brought a group of students with autism to Locals and Froot recently. “The experience was amazing!” she said. “During our visit, the staff exhibited patience and understanding, ensuring that every member of our group felt comfortable and valued … These two community hubs embody the spirit of inclusivity and warmth.”
For more information, visit froot.cafe. Len Lear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org