CENTRAL, La. (BRPROUD) — Most grandkids long for more time with their grandparents. In Central, one young woman took it a mile further and opened a café and tearoom with her grandmother.
Inside the Cottage Café and Tearoom in Central, the smell of scones and tea brewing is inviting and warm. Looking at the owners, it’s the same warm and inviting energy between the two. That is because Sarah Ulmer and Loretta Foreman are family.
This year Loretta convinced her granddaughter Sarah to reopen her business.
“This year on my 80th birthday, I thought, ‘What is still in my heart, that I really love, that I am passionate about,’ and the tea room was it,” said Foreman.
“I had this vision of us opening this together,” said Ulmer. “So when she said that I was like ‘You’re right, I have to take a chance.’ So, I did. I quit my job to do this with her.”
In 1984 Foreman opened the first Cottage Café and Tearoom, but when Central started growing the state needed the space to widen the road. That’s when she found the current spot on Joor Road.
Twelve years ago Foreman retired and the space was leased out to several businesses. That was until her 80th birthday and she knew the right person to help her reopen, her only granddaughter Sarah.
“I don’t know if I would have gone back into it if I had not had her,” said Foreman.
“People would say, ‘I can’t believe that you’re reopening. That’s so good. Central needs this. Baton Rouge needs this.’ So, it was those things that solidified my decision,” said Ulmer.
But leaving her corporate 9-5 job in New Orleans and jumping into her own business during this uncertain economic time has made Sarah nervous at times. But her grandmother is there to help.
“Having her support and having her experience in business it has eased my nerves,” said Ulmer.
“I’m the wisdom, and she has everything else to run this business. That’s why it’s doing as well as it is,” Foreman said.
Sara grew up in the New Orleans area and did not spend as much time with her grandmother as she would have liked. But she would always visit the tearoom growing up so her coming in to run it with her grandmother feels like she is making up for lost time.
“Getting to share every day with her,” said Ulmer. “She is one of my best friends. And so I love getting to see her every day. Getting to talk to her about things. Learn from her experiences. Get her suggestions on how we should do things. She’s the tea expert.”
“I feel blessed to be able to come back, to be 80, and to be able to come back to a business that I have loved all my life,” said Foreman. “And I feel very, very grateful to have my granddaughter.”
“Getting to spend time with her is the greatest gift,” said Ulmer.