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Cultivated Culture Cafe in Miller celebrating one-year anniversary with open house

Cultivated Culture Cafe in Miller will celebrate its one-year anniversary with an open house Jan. 26.

Cultivated Culture Cafe in Gary's lakefront Miller neighborhood will celebrate its first anniversary with an open house Saturday.

The coffee shop and kombucha bar at 615 Lake Street in downtown Miller will have an open house from 4  to 6 p.m. Jan. 26. The public is invited.

“When you’re from an emerging community, the fear of gentrification tends to loom in the backdrop. A question I often get asked is 'How do we encourage people to move to Gary and bring new opportunities here without alienating folks in the process?'" Miller Spotlight community builder Jessica Renslow said. “That’s what makes businesses like the Cultivated Culture Cafe so important to cities like ours. Anna and Oscar are committed to place making. Out of all the spots in the world they chose to invest here."

Anna Martinez, a former assistant brewer at 18th Street Brewery, and her partner Oscar Williams make Anna's Small Batch Kombucha, a probiotic-rich fermented tea that's sold at more than 20 grocery stores and restaurants across the Chicago area, including at The Dill Pickle Food Co-op in Chicago, Half Acre Beer Co., Kimski in Bridgeport, Roots Organic Juice Cafe in Valparaiso, Charcuterie in Griffith and Fluid Coffeebar in Valparaiso.

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It makes a variety of kombucha flavors, including ginger hibiscus, peach habanero, lavender lemonade, raspberry vanilla and blueberry mint.

In addition to the "raw organic sparkling tea," Cultivated Culture Cafe sells breakfast food, light lunch fare and a variety of coffee drinks.

"They use produce from our urban farmers in Emerson, bread from a bakery off of Broadway and the list goes on," Renslow said. "By hiring locals, sourcing products within our city and providing a community space that’s helping bridge our nutrition gap, they’re proving that a for-profit entity can also be a good steward. I hope we can attract similarly minded business people to invest across Gary. We need to transition from being a company town and focus on building up our micro and mid-level entrepreneurs. ”

For more information, call 219-702-4045, visit annaskombucha.com or find Cultivated Culture Cafe on Facebook.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.