Beginning a business at any time is taking a leap of faith, but for Christina Raschi starting a business during a pandemic could be considered by many people to be something much bigger than a leap. But for Christina, it was just taking one step closer to her dream.
Her journey, toward owning her own bakery, began when she attended Longmeadow High School and The Lower Pioneer Valley Career and Technical Education Center in West Springfield and studied culinary arts. She graduated in June 2010 and decided to take a gap year following graduation.
In anticipation of wanting to own her own business, Christina selected Asnuntuck Community College (ACC) for her postsecondary education.
“I live in Springfield and ACC is a hidden gem! I majored in business administration,” she said. “I figured pair that major with my vocational high school and work towards owning my own coffee shop bakery.”
Christina praised the college’s faculty. “The whole business administration department- Sam Irizarry and Jim Wilkinson- were great!”
Professor James Wilkinson said, “Christina always expressed herself with an exceptional business thought process. She understood business courses and terminology. She will be a success.”
Christina graduated from Asnuntuck in 2012. She spent the next few years gaining skills by working in food service and most recently working in Alzheimer caregiving. Charlie Johnson, whose family owned the iconic Johnson’s Bookstore in Springfield became a business mentor to Christina. Ironically the location of the former bookstore is the location of the 413 Café that Christina opened this summer. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno led a ribbon cutting for the bakery on August 11th, five months after Christina had hoped to open her doors. “I chose 413 Café as my business name because 413 is and always will be home.”
Christina has brought personal touches to the business. As a granddaughter of a Boston police officer she is offering law enforcement and veterans a 10 percent discount at her shop. In the mood for a coffee? She is serving Cape Cod coffee, an homage to the location where her parents met. She is staying local with Western Massachusett’s Tandem bagels, cookies and cream cheese.
She will also be offering classes that will change seasonally.
“ACC is very proud of Christina, and we wish 413 Cafe future success,” said Asnuntuck’s CEO Dr. Michelle Coach. “We love seeing her business degree being put into action.”
413 Café is located at 1383 Main St Rear in Springfield, MA. at the Shops at Marketplace, directly behind FedEx.