Creating community through coffee
Owner: Stacy Kliner
Photography: DJR Images
Story: Kat Hart
Expanding a business during the difficulties that 2020 brought may seem impossible, but Colorado Coffee Company has managed to do that and more. The business has been a Northern Colorado staple for about 30 years, originally starting in the Foothills Mall in Fort Collins, but current owner Stacy Kliner has built a community around the established brand in the last five years as they’ve refocused in Loveland.
It was poised to be a great year for the business, with an established location at Centerra, a standout coffee roaster, award winning cinnamon rolls and a new location opening in downtown Loveland’s Foundry plaza. Throughout owning her first business, Coffee Klatch, the process of purchasing Colorado Coffee Company in 2015, and opening their two Loveland locations, Stacy has worked with the SBDC and LBDC for about eight years. “I have always utilized the SBDC and the LBDC. Whenever I get stuck in a rut, I always realize that there’s this amazing tool that’s available to us and we take advantage of it… to get a jumpstart or new ideas. It’s been a gamechanger for me and all of our business ideas.” As with most business owners, the year turned out to be quite different than planned.
One thing Stacy knew before opening their new location at the Foundry was they wanted to create a community around the coffee shop, a mission which has shined through despite the challenges of the pandemic. In early 2020, Stacy gave birth to a new baby, shortly before the new location was slated to open in conjunction with the Loveland Sweetheart Festival. Come March, shutdowns started affecting local businesses and their brand-new location shut down in compliance with local health guidelines, compounded by their Centerra location being closed due to road construction. While at home with her family and two closed businesses, Stacy knew she wanted to support others. She put a call out on her social media, wanting to donate coffee and cinnamon rolls to new moms who were likely alone in the hospital, giving birth during a pandemic. The response was overwhelming and she was able to donate to new moms in Loveland, Fort Collins, and Greeley hospitals, eventually running out of mothers to donate to but the outpouring of support continued. This quickly grew into supporting the COVID affected ICU nursing staff, hospital support staff like janitors, essential grocery workers, and even local law enforcement. “People locally were looking for ways to help and our place has been a vessel for people to give.”
On top of providing thousands of cups of coffee and breakfasts to the people who kept our community running during the pandemic, the year was not even half over. Fires hit the Rocky Mountains hard in the summer of 2020, forcing many to evacuate their homes and bringing fire fighting support from all over the country to Loveland as a staging ground. “We were driving by the hotel near our shop one morning and realized everyone coming in and out was affected by the fire. There were 120 people that were stranded at our doorstep and basically they didn’t know if they were going to lose everything, so we opened our doors and said we’ll provide you a free meal every day you’re here.” Over the summer they provided hundreds of meals to affected individuals and the community rallied around the business, with customers often giving money above and beyond the cost of the cup of coffee to help.
Colorado Coffee Company is much more than just your local coffee shop. They continue to listen to the community and provide people the opportunity to give back. Throughout winter 2020 they’ve supported House of Neighborly Service with a toy drive and tree auction, are collecting socks and crossword puzzles for a local nursing home, and are happy to be a spot for coffee, caring and community, even through another round of shutdowns. Their example has even been an inspiration to their business neighbors, many of whom stepped up to give back as well. “It was awesome how it grew and people just hopped on board. A lot of people have been positively impacted this year.”