Welcome to my FIRST EVER Local Business Highlight!! Woohoo!! *insert loud cheering sounds :) *
Anyways, a little background as to why I decided to incorporate "Local Business Highlight" into my Blog:
For the past few months I have had a chance to meet some outstanding local business owners and entrepreneurs. Because of this I have really been tossing around the idea of going around and interviewing the hardworking people behind our favorite local businesses and learning a little more about them! With that being said, this segment is in its baby stage, the format may change a bit but the goal will not. I really hope to have this grow into something where we can all celebrate and support these amazing dreamers!
Without any further ado, I would like to tell you about how I got to meet Don and learn about the company he and his wife Carissa built!
I really wasn't planning on starting this Local Business project on this specific day, but as fate would have it magically did.
Some of you know me well, for those who do not , I have a serious let's call it love...not an addiction...yes love...for coffee. SO naturally when I want to meet a friend, I will always suggest we meet for coffee. Up until now I had not had an opportunity to check out Story Coffee Company and jumped at the chance to meet her there!Now my lovely friend is pregnant and has a toddler so she was running a late, this was little blessing in disguise!
I walked in to this adorable tiny house coffee shop nestled on the South end of Acacia Park in Downtown Colorado Springs. The place was filled with lively customers who seemed right at home with their surroundings, I would soon find out that this has a lot to do the owners. Don greeted me from behind the counter with a smiling face, he not only took my order but took a few extra minutes to ask me about my plans for the day. A few people walked in after I did, something that immediately stood out to me is the time and attention that Don gave to every person who walked through the door. You don't really see that all that much. While waiting for my small cappuccino, I took out my camera and asked if I could take a few shots of the coffee shop. Don said yes without and after getting permission from some of the customers I began taking pictures. This opened up a conversation about what I do (photography) and I told Don about my idea of featuring small businesses on my blog etc. etc. In the mean time the place had cleared out.
This chance encounter organically turned into my first interview!
Here is what I learned about Don, Carissa and a quick glimpse of the story behind Story Coffee Company (Don I am so sorry if I butcher a few of these details!)
Don is extremely personable. He makes his clients feel like they matter, he remembers names and specific information about the people who walk through the doors. I did not have the pleasure of meeting Carissa but I can only image that she is the same! The clients didn't seem like clients, they seemed like friends, people with relationships. In the 30minutes I spent in there he remembered: A client coming in for their second cup of joe, a client's baby's name and where she was originally from (and soon to be returning to), and he joked with another client about lunch hour!
Don and his wife Carissa had previously coffee shops in Portland, Oregon. They decided to move to Colorado to be closer to family. They also decided to travel around and gather new ideas for their next coffee shop. So they sold their 3 coffee shops and bought an 100 square-foot motor home. Now, Don and Carissa had two small girls at the time...yes people...that is 4 people coexisting in 100 sqft. if that doesn't impress you enough the next fact will! They lived like this for 3 years! Don said that this turned them into accidental minimalist and unintentionally part of the small home movement. If I understand correctly, this is where the idea of a "Tiny Home" as a coffee shop began. They began researching to see how others had made this work and quickly found out that this had not been done many people (if any)! As described by Don as being "armed with passion and ignorance" they began the idea of Story Coffee from scratch. He also humbled himself saying that the the most brilliant thing they ever did was to admit that they had no clue how to build this dream. They decided to bring in professionals to help, including an interior designer and small home builder. They now had their amazing space on wheels, next question: Where do to park it?
While leaving a meeting with a potential location spot owner, Don was introduced to a lady named Sarah who worked for the Downtown Partnership, another chance encounter. She was looking to fill a need for a "warm place to get warm drinks" near the skating rink that opens for the Holiday season at Acacia Park. This would give Story Coffee a place to park for three months, access to countless ice skaters and a front row seat to the Christmas Parade. After the three months were up the Downtown Partnership offered the Niemyers and their Story Coffee Company a permeant home at Acacia Park. Since it needed to be close to the street they were nestled right off of Bijou Street where you can now go visit and be welcomed by friends who make a top notch cup of cappuccino (or any other coffee drink you may want!)
~Enjoy the images and more information about Story Coffee Company below~