What’s the buzz? No, not the feeling you get after drinking a large cup of coffee, but it’s close. Kribi Coffee has purchased Buzz Café, the longtime, popular coffeeshop in the Oak Park Arts District at Lombard and Harrison. 

“It’s extremely important for me that Buzz Café continue, and I feel like I’ve placed it in very good hands,” said Buzz Café owner Laura Maychruk.

After being approached by Kribi with an offer, Maychruk sold Buzz Cafe to allow her more time to focus on her real estate career. She is the managing broker of her own real estate firm, which opened earlier this year and represents residential properties in Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park. 

Laura Maychruk | File

Maychruk opened Buzz Café with her husband, Andrew, 25 years ago this month. The couple, on the verge of being empty-nesters, felt the time was right to part ways with their café, but the change is bittersweet. 

“We’ve enjoyed a lot of happy years running Buzz Café,” she said.

Maychruk did more than just run a little local coffee joint. It was her home. She and her husband lived in the little apartment above the café for years and her office is still on the second floor. 

Buzz Café has become an anchor in the Oak Park Arts District, which Maychruk helped to grow into a destination location, not just for Oak Park residents but in neighboring communities as well. At the time of the café’s opening, that section of Oak Park was widely undervalued, with a reputation for being crime-ridden; now it is one of the most popular neighborhoods in the village, according to Maychruk. 

“When I opened the café, it was my opportunity to lift up southeast Oak Park,” she said. “And I feel successful in that in many ways.”

As the new owner, Kribi plans to honor Buzz Café and what it means to its loyal customers, with some minor tweaks, such as serving Kribi coffee, and updating the machinery. The Forest Park-based roastery and coffee chain is also retaining Buzz Café staff.

“We want to be careful to make sure that we give reverence and pay attention to the legacy and community relations that Laura and Buzz Café have amassed over the years,” said Jacques Shalo, the founder of Kribi Coffee.

Jacques Shalo, the founder of Kribi Coffee. | File

Shalo is still formulating a transition plan and timeline, but the current plan is to phase the Oak Park Arts District into the Kribi brand. This, he says, will be done with careful thought to show respect for and give credit to what has been built in southeast Oak Park over the years. When the time comes and a date is chosen, the grand reopening will have a theme of 25 years to celebrate Buzz Café’s anniversary.

Even though she won’t be running Buzz Café anymore, Maychruk won’t be abandoning the Oak Park Arts District. She still serves as president of the district’s business association and her term doesn’t until the end of this year. Maychruk and her husband also own the building next to Buzz Café.

“I’m not going to be leaving town anytime soon,” she promised.

Like Buzz Café, Kribi is a family company, which helped draw Maychruk and Shalo together. While she was considering selling the Buzz Café, Shalo was looking to grow Kribi’s Oak Park footprint, servicing a section of the village where Kribi does not have any locations. It was serendipitous. 

There are already two Kribi coffeeshops in Oak Park, one in the historic Boulevard Arcade building, 1033 South Blvd., and the other in a corner of the Albion building, 149 Forest Ave. The latter location just opened in late July. Kribi’s flagship is in Forest Park on the corner of Madison Street and Circle Avenue. Maychruk is a fan.

“I happen to drive by the corner of Circle and Madison probably twice a day and if you’re stopped at the light, you can smell coffee,” she said. “It’s always like, ‘Wow, this smells great.’”

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