A Coffee Community

Oct 132005
Authors: Meg Burd

"Community," says Chris Hess, events coordinator for Everyday Joe's Coffee House, "is the main focus."

For Everyday Joe's, 144 S. Mason, community means a variety of things: A community of those who visit the coffee shop, a community of artists and musicians who put their art on display there, and even the broader community of Fort Collins.

A unique place where all three intersect regularly, Everyday Joe's strives to link these communities. With their 90/10 Benefit Concert this Saturday, the coffee house hopes to strengthen these communal ties.

"Our mission is to be a sustainable business model and a positive business model," Hess said of Everyday Joe's mission. "It's not about making money for us."

A nonprofit organization, Everyday Joe's stated effort is to make Fort Collins a better place, something they attempt to do regularly by donating ten percent of profits to local charities such as the Larimer County Food Bank. Also focusing on a larger sustainable model, Everyday Joe's serves Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a supplier out of Oregon, who provides quality fair-trade coffee.

Besides building and sustaining community through these measures, Everyday Joe's strives to build connections by opening the shop for meetings, organizations, and local artists who want to display their music and art. The coffee shop is unique because they typically allow performers who wish to charge a cover a chance to keep the majority of the money they make from that charge.

"Usually, if an artist charges a cover, we give them 90 percent and take 10 percent," Hess said.

When the coffee shop needed upgrades to their coffee bar and seating area, the idea of flipping the 90/10 split seemed like an ideal way to raise some much-needed funds.

"I e-mailed a group of musicians, and they jumped on board," agreeing to take 10 percent of the proceeds instead of the usual 90 percent, Hess said.

Some of them, Hess said, agreed to donate their proceeds towards the benefit. Opening doors at 5:30 p.m. (Hess notes the coffee shop will be closed that day previous to that time to allow for set-up), the night promises to be a chance to see great Colorado acts as well as enjoy a great cup of coffee while helping a good cause.

With a lineup including Trace Bundy, Newcomers Home, Josh Dillard, Paul Pavlik, Luke Flowers and DJ Shaggz, the benefit night is a string of Everyday Joe's favorites. A strong collection of artists who frequently perform at the coffee shop, Hess said he is thrilled about the musicians performing at the benefit, and the musicians sound equally excited about their participation in the event.

"It's going to be a great night with some of the best acts in Colorado," said Josh Dillard. "Being able to play with these guys is a huge honor, and it's for a great cause."

Taking his inspiration for sound from groups such as the Beatles and Bob Dylan, Dillard said his sound is "pretty chill." Dillard was introduced to the idea of playing at the coffee house by Trace Bundy, an artist he has tremendous respect for and with whom he looks forward to sharing a bill for the event.

With the musicians all friends in their own right, Hess notes the musical lineup really came together because of the close-knit community shared between these artists in particular, and that it was through the efforts of performers such as Bundy that the benefit planning came together so well.

With a majority of the artists sharing a mellow, folky sound, the various artists' music should prove to work together nicely and provide a cohesive feeling for the night of music.

For both the musicians and Hess, the benefit is a nice chance not only to raise important funds, but also a chance to showcase the ways in which Everyday Joe's can serve as a focal point for connections in a variety of ways.

"The thing I think is neat is the community feel of it," said Luke Flowers, one of the performers as well as the artist who created the poster for the benefit, referring both to the show and the coffee house.

"We want to be a place where people who may feel disconnected can feel connected," Hess said. "We just want people to feel connected when they come in to Everyday Joe's."

For more information on Everyday Joe's and the 90/10 Benefit, see www.everydayjoes.org

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