Monica Nava-Barker: The Five Question Interview

photo credit: @viralmediausa

Monica is owner of Chemn Cafe on Main Street in historic downtown Elgin. She opened her doors in July 2019 and has already established herself and Chemn Cafe as a mainstay in our community. She features locally made goodies when she can, and collaborates with her neighboring businesses. The cafe’s bright and inviting decor is inspired by classic educational design… think chemistry class, with its beakers, dark countertops, and periodic tables.

During this time of Covid-19 she has remained opened by providing take out and curbside ordering, and encouraging guests to wear masks and social distance while in the cafe. She also recognized the need for certain hard to get items such as milk, eggs, and even toilet paper, and has them available for her guests to pick up with their lattes.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

I moved from Austin after I became engaged to my now-husband, Emzy, who grew up in Elgin.

2. What compelled you to create a business in Elgin?

I knew that I would eventually become a small business owner someday; after a year of hating the commute to Austin, being injured at work, and then the company I worked for closing, it was time to decide what business venture was closest to my heart. I’ve always wanted a coffee shop of my own, so thus began the journey forward. 

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

Family is everything, and having really wonderful people in your corner will inevitably help your success.  

Being forgiving is easier than you think, and will make you happier.  

Believe not only in yourself, but trust your instincts as well.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

I don’t enjoy cooking after working very long days (and wasn’t a big fan to begin with) but I do enjoy making new drink ideas for the shop. 

I like to read a little of everything that I can quickly skim through to be caught up in current affairs, so Facebook and Twitter are my go-to. 

I watch things that are entertaining to me albeit a little ‘weird’; I am currently watching The Blacklist, 13 Reasons Why, Dr. Pimple Popper, and Cooked with Cannabis (Netflix/Hulu) but am open to anything. 

I listen to NPR in the car and Spotify most of the day, everything from Bach to Post Malone, from Queen to Willie Nelson. 

5. Cake or Pie?

Oh my! Pie!

Visit Chemn Cafe at:

114 Main Street
Elgin, Texas 78621
(512) 827-9747

Instagram @chemncafe
Website chemncafe.com


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