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Our Story

Connection | Community | Heritage

Our Story

2005
February 2

Eli’s is Born

Eli’s is Born

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.

2010
June 1

Rachel starts working for Eli’s

Rachel starts working for Eli’s

On June 1st, just after graduating from high school, Rachel Berchtold (Aberle) began working for Eli’s in Morton. She held multiple roles at the shop, first starting as a Barista, then becoming one of the bakers, and finally, the shop manager. Rachel worked part-time in at the shop until 2014.

2014
February 11

Eli’s Expands to Tremont

Eli’s Expands to Tremont

The demands of catering and an expanded baking selection meant that the small kitchen in the Morton shop just wasn’t cutting it. Katie and Rachel 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.

2015
April 2

Leadership Changes

Leadership Changes

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 and her husband Weston, purchased the majority ownership in Eli’s and took over the day-to-day operations of the company.

August 21

Eli’s Re-branding

Eli’s Re-branding

In late August of 2015, Eli’s went through a major re-branding effort. This effort included a new logo, an updated vision and mission statement (written below), and a new website.

2016
July 5

Weston Joins Full-time

Weston Joins Full-time

In July of 2016, Rachel’s husband Weston joined Eli’s full time as the company’s COO. As Eli’s had grown, it was becoming more difficult to manage so Weston began overhauling the technology platforms, employee training, and stocking systems that were in use.

2017
May 18

Eli’s Opens in Metamora

Eli’s Opens in Metamora

Back in March of 2016, Rachel and Weston had the opportunity to look at a building on the Metamora Square that was becoming vacant and in need of a new business. While touring the building, they fell in love with the floor-to-ceiling windows, open spaces, and great potential that the building offered. After some careful thought and consideration, construction began on Eli’s third location in January of 2017. 

The building was in need of a major renovation on the inside. The original wood floors were refinished, bathrooms were reconfigured, and a new prep kitchen and coffee bar space was constructed. After almost 6 months of work, Eli’s in Metamora opened its doors on May 18th. 2017.

2019
January 1

Planning for the Future

Planning for the Future

Rachel and Weston knew that they had a clear vision in mind for the future of Eli’s and were ready to start taking concrete steps to make that vision a reality. So on January 1st. of 2019, they purchased the remaining shares of Eli’s and continue to lead the company on our mission to forge connections, build community, and preserve the heritage of our beginnings.

OUR VALUES:

Our values fall under two distinct beliefs. The first is our Identity, who we are as a business. This expresses the essence of Eli’s and should serve 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 with which we have been entrusted.
 

OUR PILLARS:

Our Pillars serve as our core beliefs in our business. They appear in Our Identity and our Mission Statement. These 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 this 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 communities, bringing truth to the phrase, Coffee with Heart.
 
3. Heritage – We take our history and the history of our communities 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.