We asked a few questions to Stéphanie and Mylène Croquevieille, the co-owners of the coffee shop Keys & Co in Caen:
We don’t see much “coffee shops” in France… What is the concept of your café ?
You can resume Keys&Co in 3 words: hospitality, ceativity and good quality coffee! We wanted to offer to students, freelances, entrepreneurs, young parents, etc, a friendly place with armchairs, coffee tables, free wifi… We want to allow people to come and use that space to develop their creativity or just chill out. We have a communitary space for workshops, meetings, etc. Creativity is reflected in the decoration of the place, where we expose local artists’ paintings but also in our kitchen. We cook with with fresh, local and seasonal products and change our meals and cakes everyday week following the trends. In France, traditionnal cafés and breweries is a real institution but it’s only since the last few years the “coffe shop” trend and the interest of seving good quality coffee is coming in the french cities. This concept in influenced by countries known for their “coffee culture” like our native country, New-Zealand. We are glad to have the opportunity to share this culture with people of Caen though Keys and to be part of this new community of coffee shops in France!
What can we find to drink and to eat?
Next to all the coffee-based drinks, you will also find differents organic teas and fresh drinks like smoothies, iced chocolate, iced tea… At Keys, there is no industrial because everything is local, prepared on site or organic. To eat, you will find brunches (eggs benedict, pancakes…), meals and home-made cakes. Thursdays, fridays and saturdays, the coffee shop stays open at night, we open the wine bar and serve tapas (cheese, meats, nachos…) to share with family and friends. The most important for us is to work with trendy, fresh, gourmet and home-made products.
What made you want to start this coffee shop? Since how long do you have this project in mind?
Everything started when I (Mylène) was working a commercial agent on my own. I really like working for myself and I thought it would be nice if one day I could have my own coffee shop end of career. At first, it was just an idea in the back of my head but I started to feel God telling me to dream with him, to dream big and to not limit my dreams like we often do. I knew He was pushing me to fully have faith in Him and to believe in the trust He has put in me. So I left my job and got 100% invested in this project. I had no money and I had no idea how, when and where this dream would become reality. I remember my fisrt meeting with a real estate agent when he asked me “what is your budget?”, I told him that I had no money but I had someone who was really supporting my project and who believed in me and so willing to invest at the right time (talking about God). It was the start of an incredible adventure of trust and faith that led us where we are today.
For me (Stéphanie), I always wanted to work on my own in something creative and artistic but I never really know what nor how to do it. I finished a bachelor in English at the university of Caen and I was in place where I didn’t really know where to put myself between studies and work. When my mom told me about her project of opening a coffee shop, I immediatly wanted to be part of it. I always loved going to the coffee shops in New-Zealand and in England and it was something that I really missed as a student here, in France. It’s a project of faith where I’ve learned a lot… I’ve learned to see my coty like God seed it, with a plan and projects and I’ve learned to dream and to fully trust Him even if it goes against our culture and beyond what we can see around us.
Why this name, “Keys & Co.” ?
We wanted an easy word, and english word, that we use often but mostly that signifies something. God gave us all the keys to become the people He made us to be and to do want He planned for us. He gave us the keys to embark in the project. And though the coffe shop, we want to give others the keys to undertake the things they are passionnate about trough the creativity of the place, the workshops, the art exhibitions… We are offering the keys like we offer the space, like an opening on the city where everyone can find his place. And it sounds a bit like “kiwis”, doesn’t it?
What is your link with the Bless network?
Bless is our church but also a second family for us. They have supported our hands like Aaron did for Moises, believing in us and encouraging us to believe in everything that God had planned for us and for our city. They have followed us throughout the project in praying for Caen, for Keys and in supporting us in everything God was doing in our lives.