Updated: Nov 5
"We welcome all races, sexual orientations, nationalities, religions, genders, ages, abilities, people*. *Unless you are a racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobic, ableist, transphobic terf. Then, sorry, not sorry."
Coffeehouses have been around for a LONG time. The origin of the coffee house is believed to be over 600 years ago in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Coffee houses became popular meeting places known as "schools of wisdom" for the type of guests they attracted, and their free and frank discourse. Still today, coffee houses continue to serve as a hub for all of these things. It is why I opened Mojo’s. I wanted to provide a space for connection. A space for games conversations. A space for music, art, and stories.
There is something powerful about space made in which people can participate in a shared activity. Whether it is coffee and croissants, or theater and movies, when people come together to share something, magic happens.
My favorite art form is stage theater because it provides a space in which people willingly come together to bear witness to someone else’s story. Doing so creates a shared connection among both audience and actors and helps deepen our connection to humanity-we as a whole are so powerful.
I see a coffee house as a similar place. It is a great honor to set a stage of craft coffee and tea, of kindness and welcoming so that people can come together.
When I opened, we were not in the middle of a pandemic. People were coming in and out as freely as birds. As soon as it became clear to me that COVID-19 was so unknown to the medical and scientific communities, I transitioned the shop into a pickup only location. I offered drive thru service via the alley. I had to move the Point of Sale station, come up with a way to still sell merchandise...adapt.
I was SO sad. The business slowdown was the least of my concerns. I’ve been much poorer than I was during the months of April and March, despite the rapid decline in sales at the shop. Not allowing people inside, which continues to be how II am operating, feels like it defeats the purpose of a coffee shop. Sure, you still get great coffee and delicious snacks, but you can’t sit down and spend time with another human being and that is such an integral part of the coffee house experience.
I spent the majority of March and April rebuilding the two small patios outside and designing an outdoor seating layout so that when the weather warmed, people could still congregate, but in smaller numbers, outside, and distanced. On a very tight budget, I built flower boxes, purchased benches, and dug out neglected plants and tons of rocky mountain soil. It worked out beautifully, and people were able to sit outside with their drinks and treats, and enjoy the mountain views. The summer was busy beyond my wildest dreams and it felt like the winter slowdown would never come...but it has.
And so has the time to work on yet another adaptation of service through the winter. I also have more time to do things like read and respond to reviews...every business owner’s favorite task, right? Criticism can be incredibly helpful in business, especially a business like mine, and the positive feedback fuels me to be even better. One review stood out to me and it read:
They can have the best coffee in the world..but when they start with the political slogans and their personal beliefs on politics..I draw the line..I go for their service and products..not their political stand. They lost several customers from their signage along(sic)..!!
Politics and coffee go together like coffee and cream. That said, for those who may read your review, I want to share with readers what these "political" signs say.
1. Black Lives Matter
2. "We welcome all races, sexual orientations, nationalities, religions, genders, ages, abilities, people*. *Unless you are a racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobic, ableist, transphobic terf. Then, sorry, not sorry."
It is my wish that my signage boldly welcomes people AND conversation.
I don't think you have ever even been here, but I'll tell you what: come by and let me buy you a cup of coffee. We can have a conversation like two respectful human beings.
If that's not your cup of tea, then sorry, not sorry.
And I mean every single word...especially the part the politics go together like coffee and cream. What I appreciated so much about my hometown coffee house was the welcoming of contentious and respectful conversation. Witnessing two people heartily debate a topic only to end the conversation with a game of chess and a friendly hug was such a marvel to me. I’ll go so far as to say I learned how to respectfully debate my fellow community members in my home town coffee house.
I met some of the most fascinating people at my hometown coffee house. Artists, politicians, drug addicts, lawyers, judges, teenagers full of angst, adults full of angst, young mothers, old mothers, musicians and rappers, poets and writers. My best friends from the coffee house ran the gamut: Fred, the self declared “Bum with a Broom” who was homeless and the best chess player ever, Freddy, the old jazz musician who spoke with a voice that sounded like he’d smoked endlessly all day and night, John, the hard-nosed republican with whom I discussed politics and belief systems for hours at a time, Annie, my once drug addicted friend who was thrown from a window that one time because she didn’t have the money to pay for her fix, who is an incredibly witchy woman and makes earthy inspired art, and Blackrock, whose style could best be described as goth, whose humor was dark and dry and whose heart is the largest and most loving.
Coffee houses have always been gathering places, and Mojo’s is a coffee house that will continue to welcome ALL, so long as you are kind and respectful. It matters not if you have a home or a hobby, if you are democrat or republican, if you are plain or flamboyant. You are welcome, you are welcome, you are welcome.
And Randy, so are you.