David J. Freschman Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner: Alisa Morkides, Brew HaHa!
Alisa Morkides is the founder and owner of Brew Ha Ha!, an independent chain of coffeehouses headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware.
During a vacation to Florence in the spring of ’93, Alisa fell in love with the quality coffee experience in Italy. One day, while sitting on a rose-covered terrace overlooking Florence, sipping yet another perfect cappuccino, she thought to herself, ”Why can’t they make coffee like this in Wilmington?’ And then she thought, “Wait a minute, why can’t I make coffee like this in Wilmington?” And a seed was planted. When she returned from vacation, she pushed full steam ahead into opening Wilmington’s first bona fide espresso cafe. She leased a 750-square foot storefront in Greenville, Delaware, maxed out her credit cards, and opened her first Brew Ha Ha! cafe in December 1993 – in the middle of a recession and a brutally cold winter.
Today, Brew Ha Ha! has grown to ten coffeehouses with sales of over $7 million, and earned many quality awards, including being voted Best Coffee in Delaware for 22 years in a row by the readers of Delaware Today. In 2015, Morkides opened a second business, Brandywine Coffee Roasters, which sells coffee worldwide.
Mrs. Morkides lives in Wilmington with her husband Chris – a therapist and reformed convenience store coffee drinker – and their daughter Kina.