Meet Your Neighbor: Camilla Nilsson-Smith runs Camilla’s Kaffe in Fruita |

Meet Your Neighbor: Camilla Nilsson-Smith runs Camilla’s Kaffe in Fruita

Camilla Nilsson-Smith
Denise Hight |

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Denise: When and how did you arrive in Fruita?

Camilla: I am a native of Stockholm, Sweden, and I came to the United States in 2000 to attend the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque to study for a degree in theater. I met my husband, Aaron Smith, a member of the university’s baseball team, in 2004; his roommate was my roommate’s brother. We married in 2005 and moved to Aaron’s hometown of Fruita.

Denise: How did you get started in the restaurant business?

Camilla: I had a number of jobs after I moved to Fruita. My first job here was designing costumes for the Cabaret theater group in Grand Junction. I then worked as alterations manager for David’s Bridal Shop. But it was my job as a barista at Aspen Street Coffee that got me started on my current path. I loved it there and it made me realize that I wanted my own restaurant. In 2008, Aaron and I opened a coffee shop, Camilla’s Kaffe, on Aspen Avenue, next door to Over the Edge Sports. In 2010, we remodeled and re-opened it as a full-service restaurant.

Denise: How do you like living in Fruita?

Camilla: Although I do get homesick for my friends and family in Stockholm, I really love it here. I like the slower-paced, laid-back lifestyle and the friendly people. When you walk down the street or go into a store, people smile and say hello. I have also met so many nice people through the restaurant. And of course, the area is just so beautiful.

Denise: Are you at the café full-time?

Camilla: Aaron and I have three children: Isabella, age 6; Sofia, age 4; and Luca, age 8 months. Since Luka’s birth, I have been on temporary maternity leave, working only occasionally, thanks to the amazing cooks and the wonderful wait staff at the restaurant. They are like family. I will be back more regularly soon, and Aaron and I really appreciate the support that the people of Fruita have given to Camilla’s Kaffe since we first opened. Our next project is to cover the back patio, so diners can sit out there in all but the most extreme weather.

Denise Hight is co-author of Images of America: Fruita, which was published by Arcadia Publishing in 2011. She is currently working on another book for Arcadia, Legendary Locals of Fruita, which will be published in 2016. She can be reached at

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