College graduation is a pivotal moment in a student’s life, signifying the end of a chapter.
For the class of 2020, this experience lacked the optimism and excitement that graduates before them experienced. Millions of young adults watched their commencement ceremonies from their bedrooms. They entered a job force full of uncertainty.
Mattia Krappa, an Old Forge native, graduated from East Stroudsburg University last spring, with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a minor in communications. She felt discouraged after applying for jobs that failed to energize her. In response, she created an opportunity by starting a business.
In December, Krappa opened Lucca Fresca, a health food shop that specializes in smoothies, açaí bowls, oatmeal and chip and dips. Nearly all the products available for purchase at Lucca Fresca are vegan and have no added sugar.
The Lucca Fresca specials board is ever changing as the team experiments with new food combinations. All the featured smoothies are named after Harry Styles songs. Krappa is a huge fan of the musician and added parts of her personality into the menu. Aside from nutrient dense dishes, gifts are available. Lucca Fresca features items such as picture frames, jewelry, keychains, car fresheners and reusable cups and straws.
Besides offering healthy and delicious alternatives to casual dining, the shop creates a welcoming atmosphere. The inside of the smoothie shop has an eclectic style with a seating space composed of mix-matched furniture, collected by Krappa. She, along with friends and family, took on projects to create the perfect ambience, much of which was uploaded to the popular video app, TikTok.
Krappa started creating video content and posting to the application in order to document the process and preserve her memories of Lucca Fresca. The videos were well received and gained the attention of TikTok users, with one video accruing over 3 million views and more than 800,000 likes.
Krappa is a serial entrepreneur, having started several businesses. While earning her degree, she did makeup for wedding parties and school dances. “As children, I think we all have a little entrepreneur in us,” she said. In her youth, she hosted countless lemonade stands and spent summers making rubber band bracelets to sell to her friends and family. Her family heavily influenced Krappa’s decision to open the smoothie shop. Since the age of 3, Krappa’s parents owned a small business. Much of her childhood took place in restaurants and diners and Krappa’ contributes much of her business literacy to them. Krappa said, “I honestly could not have done this without my parents, and I am forever grateful for them and their support.”
Krappa is not a stranger to the challenges of owning a small business. She knew starting a business during a pandemic would come with obstacles, including shipping delays and seating restrictions. Despite the challenges, Krappa finds the creative freedom of owning her own business to be liberating. “I love walking into the shop and having the ability to make and do something new every single day. I love being able to express myself through my shop, it is very much me,” Krappa said. In the future, she would love to expand Lucca Fresca to include a second location and host in-house events.
To young women aspiring to open a business, Krappa offered: “As women, we have to work harder to get to where we want to be. Don’t let the people around you doubt your capabilities as a woman. Your confidence and skills will grow with you as you gain knowledge and experience. Do what you do best and stay true to yourself. Don’t feel like you have to conform to jobs that society presents to you. Take the risk to create your own space in the business world. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t, or you won’t.”
Lucca Fresca is located at 802 South Main St., Taylor and is open Tuesday through Saturday 10-6 and Sundays from 10-3. It can be found on Instagram and Facebook @LuccaFresca.