“If you're gonna innovate something the world has never seen, there's probably gonna be a pretty good story behind how you got there. This is ours.”
THE SHORT VERSION:
Don and Carissa Niemyer were always interested in minimalism. They accidentally became really good at it when they moved "temporarily" into 99 square feet of living space with their two kids and ended up staying there for almost 4 years. A year of that was spent traveling the nation, visiting over 200 great coffee shops in 45 states, getting inspiration, and dreaming about their next coffee move. These experiences culminated in the idea to create a Tiny House Coffee Shop. After searching around for others who had done this and finding nothing, they decided to do it anyway, becoming the first people in the world that they know of to build a Tiny House Coffee Shop where customers come inside. It's sitting in Downtown Colorado Spring's Acacia Park right this very minute, serving up great coffee in a simple yet elegant environment. And the Niemyers are having the time of their lives.
FROM TEMPORARY TO PERMANENT
The Story Coffee team spent the next 3 months testing the limits of their creation. Because of their location in Acacia Park, they were right in the middle of many holiday events. The Christmas Parade. Downtown's Small Business Saturday. And the lighting of the holiday Christmas tree. On these days, the odd little shop in the middle of the park was nearly overwhelmed, but it performed marvelously, funneling lines in one door and out the other, just like it was designed to do! Between these events and over 15,000 ice skaters that year, they had a pretty good business going. They were sharing the "stories" of coffees and people they had encountered on their national coffee crawl, trying to honor those artisans by presenting their coffees as elegantly as possible. But it was all too good to last long, it seemed, as the ice skating rink closed in January and Story Coffee continued looking for a permanent home. Then they found out it actually was NOT too good to last, because the Parks Department called one day. They'd had pretty good feedback about the little shop being in the park, as it turned out. The shop met some of their goals related to making Acacia Park an attractive place for citizens to come enjoy a beautiful space with various amenities. Plus it helped make things safer, with extra eyes and ears looking around. So they asked if there was any interest in Story staying in the park, to which Don said they'd need to move to a more visible location, and everyone agreed that next to the historic band shell on Bijou Street would be perfect! So in March of 2016 the relocation was executed, a deck and a proper ADA ramp were installed, and Story Coffee celebrated its official grand opening in April of 2016.
THE DREAM CONTINUES
Since that time, the Story "story" has continued to unfold. Brandon and Kelly decided to move on from the partnership (they all learned they were better as friends than business partners) and Story Coffee Company became a roasting company in November of 2016, launching their own line of coffee that is being served in coffee shops, restaurants, and churches around the country now. Story enjoys the craftsmanship of some of the finest baristas in Colorado Springs, and is widely considered one of the finest shops in town. Because of their innovative model they are able to achieve this while keeping their operating costs minimal, which means they can offer great products at a good price, and still donate 5% of revenues - not profits, but every dollar spent - to helping feed the homeless in Colorado Springs (their goal for 2018 is $10,000). Don & Carissa now live just 3 blocks away from the shop in a 120 year old Victorian house, working to keep their life as simple as possible, and continue pursuing ways to be involved in their community, enjoy their family, and tell great stories. They also love hearing great stories, and hope you'll come by and share yours soon!