88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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"The Neighborhood Project": East Tosa | Cranky Al's

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Listen: Some execute better than others, but making coffee and donuts is not a terribly uncommon occupation. Cranky Al's, located on 69th and North Avenue certainly holds its own when it comes to consumables, but this coffee shop is much more than a coffee shop -- besides being a community staple, it's a wonderful story of faith and investment. (They also make pizza in the evenings.) How does one find a career? It can be passion, obligation, inertia, hunger or any number of motivators from the romantic to the milquetoast. However, the particular story of these donut-makers revolves around kismet and the chance occurrence of Krispy Kremes: [audio=1] A small note on the story -- if you recall, 10 years ago Krispy Kreme donuts were more valuable than precious metal. Everybody was going nuts for them! So, offering a kindly couple a box of Krispy Kremes was actually quite a gesture at the time. Also, I still can't get over the fact that they saw that box of Krispy Kremes and immediately came to the exact same conclusion. "Well. There they are. I guess we're going into the donut-making business." And as Al mentions in the piece, what if the trunk had opened up and they'd found something else? Scuba gear? Beekeeping equipment? A ship in a bottle? Who knows what would have happened!

Once they decided to make donuts, their lives, and their story, didn't calm down much. Over the past 10 years, they've done their fair share of twisting and turning, but they still find themselves on North Avenue, committed to East Tosa: [audio=2] Interested in learning more about East Tosa? The best place to start is their neighborhood website. And perhaps even better, get out to the neighborhood and check it out yourself!

Produced by: Adam Carr