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The iconic design and lifestyle brand Yowie will be partnering with local coffee roasters, ReAnimator Coffee, as well as bakery and pizza shop Eeva to open Wim, a “new cafe concept” on the first floor of the soon-to-open Yowie Hotel, located at 226 South St in what was formerly a real estate agency and law firm.
The hotel — which was originally scheduled to open in October but is now looking at a November/December 2022 launch date — will have 11 suites perched above Wim and Yowie’s new flagship retail location. The cafe and retail space are aiming to open their doors in October/November, the former tentatively operating from 7am-4pm, and the latter from 10am-6pm during the week and 9am-5pm on the weekends.
Yowie founder Shannon Maldonado began kicking around the idea for a boutique hotel while working with another hotel in the area, The Deacon. There, she got to know the team behind ReAnimator and its co-owner Mark Capriotti, who also serves as co-owner of Eeva.
Speaking to What Now Philadelphia, Maldonado explains, “[The Deacon] really wanted to work with local partners to make every part of the guest’s experience unique, and feel really connected to Philly. So we were excited to partner with ReAnimator to cover in-room coffee and the coffee that’s in the common area.”
As it happens though, while The Deacon functions as an “invisible service” and event space with various community gatherings, Maldonado saw an opportunity to start something different, drawing on her ambitious eye for lifestyle services. Thus, as the Yowie Hotel began to take shape, so too did the organic collaboration with ReAnimator and Eeva.
“I think we originally were just talking about a similar program of having beans in the suites and beans available at Yowie,” says Maldonado. “But the more and more we met and spoke, it felt like all of us were excited to maybe come up with a new concept together that could bring our strengths in design and food.”
While ReAnimator will be handling the coffee side of things, the food menu will be the brainchild of Eeva chef and baker, Greg Dunn. And although Eeva is predominantly known for its pizza and sourdough offerings, the kitchen at Wim will allow Dunn to try something entirely fresh – quite literally, as Wim’s menu will carry seasonal offerings that reflect what they can get from their produce vendors.
As ReAnimator’s director of coffee, Matt Scottoline explains, although Eeva has recently been branching into daytime fare, it’s still very much in its infancy. “But starting the project with Wim and getting our head into that mode of thinking is pushing Greg to start thinking about this kind of stuff – putting ideas he’s had into practice” and allowing him to experiment more, says Scottoline.
Yowie’s humble beginnings date back to 2016 when Maldonado launched an online shop that specialized in carrying indie designers and artists working across a range of mediums including fashion, writing, and decor. By the following year, she was able to open a brick-and-mortar shop on S 4th Street along Fabric Row in Queen Village.
According to Maldonado, that Yowie location will probably close when the hotel’s retail space opens, however, not wanting to be left without a storefront should there be any delays with the new space, she decided to extend the lease through January, during which time the company might host a “Yowie Presents” pop-up series with local artists and designers.
Needless to say, the entire Wim team has deep roots in Philadelphia and will doubtlessly be bringing something special to Queen Village.
“[ReAnimator is] a brand that definitely has a strong neighborhood identity, and the support of that neighborhood is what helped us become a real company, and helped us grow into a company with multiple cafes now, and that is doing something like Wim,” says Scottoline. “So I think we’ve felt firsthand, like, the benefits of not only just, sort of the way Philadelphia can foster small businesses, but also the way that those communities in specific neighborhoods can help those businesses grow and flourish.”
Similarly, Maldonado explains, “I grew up in the area about five minutes away…I’ve been coming to South Street my whole life – as a kid, as a teenager, and now as an adult through having Yowie…So I love the neighborhood wholeheartedly and fully believe in it. And I’ve always thought South Street was one of the most unique business corridors in the city, and a place that anyone could go to be themselves – it’s very warm and welcoming.
“Because our shop is all about fostering young talent, emerging artists and design creatives, and that’s what South Street is, and it’s always been to me, it felt so natural and so exciting when we found that building.”
In no uncertain terms, Queen Village is equally excited to welcome Yowie Hotel and Wim. “We’ve been really floored by the neighborhood community rallying around the space,” says Maldonado. “On the weekends in the shop, I’d estimate 30 people a day ask me when it’s opening, and they already feel this really sweet and inspiring ownership of the space…So it already feels a bit ingrained in the neighborhood. So I can’t wait for people to actually see it and be able to interact with the space.”