For Lady Island resident Macey Estrella, Monday, Aug. 21, marked a milestone she has been working towards for two years. She and her family will host the grand opening of Sunny Summers Café at 11:30 a.m. at 7 Robert Smalls Parkway in Beaufort. On the surface, a café is a fun, colorful, and welcoming place where you can grab a coffee, dessert, or delicious snack.
But for Estrella, known to many as former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star Lacey Evans, the cafe represents a place to spend more time with family time and the opportunity to give back to the Beaufort community she loved. Estrella has been a wrestler in WWE for seven years, and while she loves the job and is grateful for it, the constant travel for her job makes it harder for her to be with her family and be involved in the community.
“I think I can help a lot more outside of the WWE ring,” Estrella said of the decision. “I want to focus on helping my community fight addiction and working on normalizing mental health issues.”
Estrella lost her father while serving in the Marine Corps and shortly before auditioning for WWE, as he suffered from mental health issues and drug and alcohol abuse.
She said that while in WWE, she used her platform to normalize mental health issues and help children affected by addiction, and now she wants to do that for the community. Once the cafe officially opens on Monday, Estrella hopes to open its doors to community groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and said she plans to provide them with free coffee and donuts in addition to providing a gathering place.
She also hopes to develop workshops and classes for military wives and spouses that cover important skills needed to find employment and “pursue their goals and aspirations.” Most of all, Estrella is happy to be able to live under one roof with her family.
The name Sunny Summers Café was inspired by her two daughters, Summer and Sunny. Together with their Estrella husband Alfonso, the two girls transformed the cafe’s interior into a vibrant and calming space, complete with hidden visual treats like crayons for their toddler Sonny tag, and there are little green military men hovering in glowing text above the cash register that says “Café.” As a reference, she’s a former Marine.
As a veteran and survivor of childhood trauma from severe depression, drug and alcohol abuse, Estrella also wanted to focus on mental health at the cafe, offering inspirational phrases, scent therapy, color therapy and comfort Seats. “I wanted to create a space where people could come in and disconnect from their devices, but also disconnect from their thoughts,” Estrella said.
She emphasized the word “unplug,” and said that if you turn your phone off and go into “cell phone jail,” you’ll get a free donut to enjoy with your family.