One of the best things about local, independent coffeehouses is the unique experience they offer their communities. In Seattle, for example, Ancient Grounds is the epitome of self-expression. Fommer’s (www.frommers.com) said “Ancient Grounds is hands down the coolest and most unusual espresso bar in Seattle.” No THAT says something being in the hometown of Starbuck’s.
Rolland, the owner, is deeply passionate about his coffee and his ancient artifacts from around the world. The masks from various native culture surround the space and make one feel comfortably observed.
Inside Ancient Grounds, Seattle WA
In our conversation, he shared his biggest challenge in owning a coffeehouse ~ good, trustworthy staff. He has opted to run the entire business himself. He is open Tuesday-Saturday and takes a two days to refresh. In between preparing espressos for the customers that come in from his 1st Avenue location in Downtown, he trades his artifacts online with people he has met in his international travels.
According to him: the best part of his coffeehouse? The people. He fully enjoys being of service in the world. Rolland even hand-writes thank you notes to his guests and customers, personal and from the heart. He called it his “integrity homework”. How does it get any better than this? :)
One pointer he would give to a someone considering opening a new coffeehouse is to diversify the offerings, even if it is to merge it with a business completely different from coffee. After 14 years of operating Ancient Grounds, it should prove to be some sound advise.
You can find Rolland at:
1220 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
This space used to be an Eagles Lodge once upon a time and now is home to a fabulous bakery owned by a mother-daughter team. Mom was baking in the kitchen and her daughter The space is large enough to house the entire Denver Broncos football team and they have the sweets to satisfy their taste buds. My favorite was the cinnamon and sugar raised twists …. just like my grandma on my mother’s side used to make at her bakery in Glendale, AZ.
My father, Fred, was raised here in Lead, South Dakota. I remember when it was a community full of people going places and doing things. The economy started to slow down when they legalized gambling in Deadwood, its sister town, but it came to a screeching halt when the Homestake Gold Mine closed in 2002. Now Downtown Lead only gets a few visitors as they are passing through exploring the Black Hills.
This local family took a leap of faith and decided it would be a good time to invest in a business. And they are not alone. A block or so down the street is a building that will house a micro-brewery to be started by a family from Oregon. Then a block from that is the old Masonic Lodge, the one my grandfather and grandmother were members of for decades.
Today is auction day at the Lodge and the streets are lined with cars. The building and all of its’ belongings were sold to Dakota Plains Auctions as their new primary location for their very successful family business.
As you can see, things are starting to stir again in Lead. I love that my Dad’s hometown is making a resurgence!
Lovin’ life, Lisa
I watched in anticipation as the older building near the capitol was being remodeled. Most notable was the sign painted on the side of the old brick wall facing Grant Street.
The simplicity of it captured my attention … very mysterious. Soooo I went to the website to see if this was going to be a writer’s haven-type coffeehouse. No information. I was devastated at the time.
The mystery was solved last week. I scheduled to meet my web developer there for a meeting and it was brilliantly designed and meticulously planned for writers, developers, students. For those people that need to focus for long periods of time in a cool environment.
Front of the house is a coffeehouse with tables, chairs, wifi, and a bubbly water fountain (awesomeness).
Back of the house contains small offices, a conference room, a very loooong table with lots of outlets for computers and other electronic paraphernalia. There is a fee for this area; by the hour or with a monthly membership.
This coop workspace AND coffeehouse rules in my book!
230 East 13th Avenue
Denver, CO 80203
Jason Gray is sorta like an icon in Castle Rock and I got to meet him!!
Now … that’s just based on me hanging out at his coffeehouse for a couple of hours drinking his personally roasted espresso and watching him greet his customers. He only roasts and serves the best coffee. There is a genuine sense of pride in his work that emanates from his being.
He has been in the coffee industry for about 30 year and got his start at Starbucks in Seattle in the 80′s. ”They had 25 stores back then”, he said. Then he traveled north to Alaska and spent many years with Kaladi Brothers beginnings and trained under Mark Overly now of Kaladi Brothers Colorado. In addition, he spent tons of time and gained the respect of the recently passed, coffee great, Michael Sivetz.
Jason opened Crowfoot Valley Coffee and Crow Bar Coffeehouse in 1999 and is ridiculously happy creating a place for people to come together and to serve them his finest roasted beans.
Gotta check out his shop, now serving a rotating selection of high-end craft beers:
Crowfoot Valley Coffee
734 Wilcox Street #102
Castle Rock, CO 80109