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Crema Coffee Co. partners with Freshii, expands to Yonge and Bloor

The block of Bloor west of Yonge is one of the highest-end, highest-traffic retails blocks in the nation. But other than The Spotted Dick, the first block east of Yonge has traditionally home only to crickets and tumbleweeds.

But Matthew Corrin is hoping to change that. The entrepreneur behind Freshii (formerly Lettuce) has just signed an agreement with Geoff Polci of Crema Coffee Co., less than two years old and already a Junction staple. For all the freshness of its food and design template, Freshii is not a destination restaurant. It's a place to go for lunch from the office. But Crema, winner of Toronto's 2008 Krupp's best cafe award, has the potential to draw clientele from across the great Yonge divide for its high-end, expertly brewed cups. There's little non-chain competition in the area, which increases the likelihood that a Freshii-Crema team-up might perk up the orphan block.

"It's tough to get into the core," says Polci, who'll have a staff of two to start, and had been considering locations around Summerhill, Richmond and Spadina. "This is a real opportunity. I'll be able to rent a small footprint for a decent amount of money. The co-branding and shared space, I think, is really the future of franchises and these kinds of businesses."

In addition to moving his $12,000 Clover machine to the new location (one of only three Clovers installed in the city before Starbucks bought the company and blocked future sales), Polci's bought a Mirage Idrocompresso, a lever-style espresso machine. Made in Naples and designed by Dutch metalworker Kees Van der Westen (whose machines Mark Prince at coffeegeek.com has declared the best in the world), Polci's a fan of its well engineered extraction process, and says it'll be the only one of its kind in the city.

Writer: Bert Archer

Source: Geoff Polci

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