Some people find their niche in life from opportunities they could have never imagined and as a result of unpredictable circumstances. That’s how Laura Verheaghe, owner of the Red Cup Cafe & Deli in Chesterton, has found joy in something she didn’t foresee happening.
Prior to Red Cup Cafe & Deli, Verheaghe served as a liaison for professional sports teams in the Chicago area. This includes teams such as the Bulls, White Sox and the Blackhawks. In 2008, she found herself looking for work once again after the impacts of the Great Recession.
Growing up in La Grange, Illinois, Verheaghe studied at Illinois State University before making her way to the Region.
“It was about 26 years ago that I made the move over here,” Verheaghe said. “I was involved in marketing before I had kids. It’s still crazy how I even found myself here. After I started this, I just loved doing it.”
Originally, Verheaghe knew a friend that had plans to buy the business years ago. Red Cup Cafe & Deli was founded in 2005.
Verheaghe was interested in finding a way to help out both the community and the business. Eventually, she was put on the payroll and became a part of the team.
“I started out as the dish girl for the first three months, learning the register and making drinks,” Verheaghe said. “After a while, I became more familiar with the other positions and I absolutely loved every part of it. I’ve really appreciated the way it has played a role in the community as well.”
Once the option was on the table for someone to purchase Red Cup Cafe & Deli, Verheaghe took advantage of the opportunity.
Since taking ownership, she has continued to look at ways to bring people in the Region together through Red Cup Cafe & Deli serving at various events. She also ensures that the business provides the most authentic version of their menu items.
“All of our baked goods are made from scratch,” Verheaghe said. “We have amazing coffee that’s provided straight out of Chicago. Our menu definitely has a wide variety, but we also focus on serving as a place for wonderful people to come and celebrate positive experiences or to meet new friends.”
Verheaghe’s mission statement since purchasing the business has been to focus on feeding the bodies and nurturing the souls of her customers. Even if someone is going through tough times and might need the comfort of a hug or a laugh, she ensures that Red Cup Cafe & Deli works to create an environment for everybody to feel comfortable and happy.
“To be a part of people’s triumphs, especially in their hardships, is my favorite part of this job,” Verheaghe said.
In the next 10 years, Verheaghe plans to be looming into the early stages of retirement. However, she still would want to be around the business and continue meeting the new friends that come to Red Cup Cafe & Deli.
For more information on Verheaghe’s business, you can visit their Facebook page.