After Jaywalker Lodge acquired The Blend coffee shop in Carbondale in May, some devotees worried the new owners might change it beyond recognition, but the official transition last night was nothing less than seamless.
The shop was open as The Blend during the day on Thursday, had its grand re-christening in the evening, and is already serving java as Boomerang Coffee. It has a new name, new management, and a new mission, but it retains the same hours and much of the same ambiance. There will be some changes to the breakfast and lunch menu, but coffee itself will come from the same fair-trade bean supplier.
“People like the coffee so I don’t want to mess with that,” observed manager Adam Mink.
The quick transition is largely thanks to the cooperation of former owner Wade Newsom, who has spent the last month working with Jaywalkers and training Mink. Several existing staff members will carry over, further easing the process.
“I always hoped this would be something bigger than just a coffee shop,” Newsom said at the grand reopening Thursday night. “It’s a bittersweet transition, but mostly sweet.”
The main difference between Thursday and Friday morning is where the money ends up. Net proceeds at Boomerang will go to benefit A Way Out, a local nonprofit that provides scholarships for people with drug and alcohol addictions to get treatment. It will also provide a public outlet for an organization that’s usually private by necessity.
“I wanted to be able to provide an opportunity for clients, alumni, and others in the community to have jobs,” said Jaywalker Lodge director Bob Ferguson.
Jaywalker Lodge is a 20-bed, 90-day rehab facility that has operated in Carbondale since 2005. The organization has since added 10 beds each at Jaywalker Solutions and Jaywalker U, which provide ongoing support, and also provides outpatient services. Ferguson estimated that roughly 80 percent of those who successfully complete the program stick around for a while, providing a strong support network of active alumni. Jaywalkers maintains an alumni community center right next door to Boomerang, and although many meetings and programs will need to remain anonymous, Mink hopes to host events and open the double doors between the spaces.
“We want to give back and have a presence,” he said.
There will be some signage to clue folks into the cause, and the name itself is a reminder that what goes around comes around, but Mink is working hard to make sure the message doesn’t scare folks away.
“I’m not going to throw it in people’s face or wave a huge banner,” he said.
A new rotating artist showcase helps to emphasize the coffee shop’s community focus. In the first display, Leif Wold’s tribal motifs play off the “Boomerang” name.
Ferguson views the venture as part of a renaissance along 133 on “the Sopris side of Main Street,” and is confident that the town will support the move.
“Jaywalker would be nothing without the Carbondale community, which has looked us in the eye, embraced us, and given us a second chance,” he said.