Wired Cafe: A Coffee Shop That’s All About Family

For 10 years, area residents have started their day at this cozy coffee shop. Step inside this destination in downtown Rockford and find out how this mother-daughter team makes everyone feel like part of the family.

Crystal Douglas (right) opened Wired Café 10 years ago with the help of her daughters, Shanna (left), and Maggie (middle). (Catalyst Design & Photography photo)

Crystal Douglas and her two daughters, Maggie and Shanna, have a true love for coffee and each other. So, it only made sense for Douglas to open her own coffee shop with the help of her daughters.

In 2010, that’s exactly what they did.

“The three of us used to always go to coffee shops and both Maggie and Shanna used to work in coffee shops,” Douglas says. “One day, I just woke up and decided to go to barista school and we went from there.”

They opened the doors to Wired Café, 414 E. State St., 10 years ago. The coffee shop is located in the heart of downtown Rockford in the space formally occupied by Sugar & Spice, a former coffee shop.

“We looked at a bunch of locations and we happened to be driving past this area one day and we saw this space was for rent,” Douglas says. “The rest is history.”

Today, the business is still going strong, with the help of a loyal customer base.

“We’ve got customers who have been coming here since the very beginning,” Douglas says. “We really enjoy people and we wanted to make them feel like this was their coffee shop. People come here and develop relationships with us and with each other. Those relationships are important to us.”

A lot of the customers who flock to Wired either live or work near the coffee shop, but people also come from miles around, including from Winnebago and Belvidere.

When she first opened the business, Douglas says the surrounding area wasn’t as busy as it is today.

“All of the buildings next to us were empty, other than a tattoo shop,” she says. “We were here at the very beginning before downtown was cool. We were lucky we got here when we did, because this area evolved with the coffee shop.”

Named after the internet and the feeling you get after drinking the right amount of coffee, Wired has plenty of coffee on the menu, along with several tea selections and fruit smoothies. There’s also an assortment of breakfast items, including a croissant sandwich with a fried egg, cheese and your choice of meat, and a breakfast burrito with eggs, sausage, cheddar cheese, onions and green peppers.

Several lunch items are also available, including a roast beef sandwich with onion, green pepper, jalapenos and a southwest sauce all on a grilled ciabatta bun.

“Our pastries are very popular as well,” Douglas says. “We also have various daily specials and we do a lot of soups during the winter.”

Children also have food options, including an old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich and macaroni and cheese.

Douglas and her staff know many of the customers who visit the coffee shop. Some customers are greeted multiple times before they even step to the counter to place their order.

Even if you’re a newcomer, the staff at Wired treats you like you’re a regular customer. That family-like feeling is what helps separate Wired from other coffee shops in the area, Douglas says.

“We’re all individual and we’re all unique,” she adds. “But, I think our coffee shop has more of a homey feeling. The other coffee shops build relationships, too, but ours is more of a family feel, especially since I’m working with my family.”