‘Penn Hills’ best kept secret’ expands to East Liberty

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A PAUSE FOR THE CAUSE—Manager of the Penn Hill Creamy Creations and More, Dorothy M. Gorman and owner, Rhonda Rector-Rankin, take a minute to relax in the quiet space.

 

Good conversation, food, entertainment, fun activities and creative ambiance are all a part of the experience of Creamy Creations and More located at 144B Jefferson Rd., in Penn Hills. It is Penn Hills’ best kept secret, according to its owner Rhonda Rector-Rankin.

Soon the same amenities will be a part of the pleasures of East Liberty. In August Rector-Rankin will open a second location at 5943 Penn Ave. “I am excited about the new location and grateful about our growth throughout our four years,” says the proprietor.

Located at the Penn Hills site next to the Penn Hills Lawn and Garden Center on Rodi Road since the end of April, Rector-Rankin maintained a belief and faith that the business was going to be a success. As the only African-American woman-owned coffeehouse café in Penn Hills, she admitted that she stepped outside her comfort zone to open the Jefferson Road business. Expanding to East Liberty after two months proves that her faith and hard work has paid off.

First operating in the Duff Road Office Center, CCM was founded to address the desire of chocolate-lovers and coffee drinkers to satisfy a craving.

“I’ve always liked coffee and making chocolate was a hobby,” says Rector-Rankin. “I broke my ankle and couldn’t work so I began making chocolate and creating gift baskets. The business was created out of passion. After I broke my ankle I viewed things differently.”

The former educator said she went from independence to dependence, which was quite a learning experience. Viewing what she does as a ministry she said her business has grown from a hobby to part-time to full-time.

“Operating this business has afforded me the opportunity to spend time with sick parents before they passed as well as the chance to be around for my children,” she said and specified that being a positive influence for her two sons has been important to her. “Being an entrepreneur demonstrates and teaches them about strong work ethics.”

 

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READY FOR THE DAY—Rhonda Rector-Rankin, owner of Creamy Creations and More stands by her Penn Hills Coffeehouse Café preparing for the crowd of the day. (Photos by Diane Daniels)

 

Known for its warm atmosphere, Rector-Rankin says her goal is to provide a venue from both locations where her customers and event participants are comfortable, feel safe and receive the best quality of service and products. The Penn Hills location of CCM is more than a coffeehouse café that offers a variety of coffees, breakfast and lunch foods. Throughout the month one can participate in activities such as Latin Aerobics, Salsa Dancing or listen to live music. Various meetings like the Women’s Business Network are held at the site. Noting that the Penn Hills location is available for rental, Rector-Rankin encourages people to be creative when using the space.

“There is no limit as to what can be done here,” she said pointing out that it has a separate meeting room, the main area and a lounge which is often used as a quiet space. Within the three months it has been open she indicated that it has been used for receptions and graduation parties. The space has Wi-Fi capabilities and has a television and DVD player available for presentations.

“The café is also perfect for time alone, meeting with business acquaintances, intimate occasions, and or enjoyable conversation with friends,” she suggests.

Providing a family friendly atmosphere, there are books, magazines and games available.

In the future Rector-Rankin has plans to include events such as stage readings at the Penn Hills site. Because the East Liberty space is smaller, similar events like poetry readings, book clubs and music combos will occur there.

CCM is also available for catering and delivery services. Menus include breakfast foods and sweet treats, lunch foods and desert trays. Drinks of house blends of coffee and tea are a part of the service.

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