SPRINGFIELD — 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 something much bigger.
Her journey toward owning her own bakery — a new business in downtown Springfield called 413 Café — 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, Raschi selected Asnuntuck Community College (ACC) for her postsecondary education, majoring in business administration.
ACC Professor James Wilkinson noted that “Christina always expressed herself with an exceptional business thought process. She understood business courses and terminology. She will be a success.”
After graduating from Asnuntuck in 2012, Raschi spent the next few years gaining skills by working in food service and most recently working in Alzheimer’s caregiving. Charlie Johnson, whose family owned the iconic Johnson’s Bookstore in Springfield, became her business mentor — and 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 Aug. 11, five months after Raschi had hoped to open her doors. “I chose 413 Café as my business name,” she said, “because 413 is and always will be home.”
Raschi has brought personal touches to the business. As a granddaughter of a Boston police officer, she is offering law enforcement and veterans a 10% discount at her shop. She serves Cape Cod Coffee, an homage to the location where her parents met. And she supports a local business by serving 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 Café future success,” Asnuntuck CEO Michelle Coach said. “We love seeing her business degree being put into action.”
413 Café is located at the rear of 1383 Main St. in Springfield, at the Shops at Marketplace, directly behind FedEx.