For a long time I fantasized about the idea of having a coffee shop. I know that there is a Starbucks on every corner and some even have drive-thrus which make them even more convenient… while that is great, I wanted something different. I always wanted a coffee shop where I could find a comfy place to sit with a book or my knitting and enjoy coffee that tastes good or even a pot of tea. For me this was little more than a post-retirement fantasy, I still have school-age children and was not economically secure enough to take that kind of a financial risk. If I’m being perfectly honest, I was too scared to take a risk that would require me to quit my job, and put my family in a position that could potentially leave us destitute.
Then came my mom. She had recently moved back to Estacada, OR after spending a few years in California helping me with the kids while I was off fulfilling my military obligations. By the time I had returned from my most recent deployment, I was remarried, the kids were older and life was settling down here. My brother and his wife, on the other hand, had a toddler running around the house and their life was reaching the stage of chaos that only those with small children understand. It only made sense for my mom to pack up her life again and head back home to be there for her little granddaughter.
For a time, in addition to taking care of her family, Mom worked an unfulfilling, uninspiring, dead-end job… It was enough to put food on the table and keep bills paid, but that was all it was. Mom wanted more. She wanted to do something meaningful and fulfilling. She wanted to work for herself. She wanted her piece of The American Dream. As it would happen, there was a place in Estacada, our home town, which could provide the opportunity she was looking for. There was a small café on Broadway, in the heart of downtown, where Mom spent a few weeks as a server over the previous summer. The café was only open for a short time, but during the time that Mom spent there, she saw the kind of opportunity that the café presented and the amount of potential that went to waste when it was closed.
This was her opportunity. She spent countless hours developing a business plan, creating a budget, assessing what it would take to make a coffee shop/café successful in Estacada, figuring out what would need to be done to make her place unique, interesting and viable in a small town with heavy coffee competition. She spent time working on developing a menu and planning down to the smallest details. She asked me to be her business partner, because she knew that this was something that I had been wanting to do (and because I finally had the financial means to get things up and running), so naturally I accepted and began helping to prepare the best I could remotely. Then the time came… there was competition for the café location, someone else was interested! It was time to make a move or close the door on this dream. We got together with enough money to get started and on January 31, 2015, we signed the lease, got the keys, and began to prepare for our opening day!
This experience has not been without its challenges, we have been learning as we go and making adjustments along the way, but what has been created is quite literally a dream come true.