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For sale: Underground coffee shop in Rifle

Ryan Hoffman
rhoffman@citizentelegram.com
Olive Ridley's Coffee stand manager Kevin Ketchum, right, and owner Natalie Wilson share a laugh with Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson and Glenwood Springs Branch Library Manager Sue Schnitzer during Coffee with a Cop.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

After nearly 14 months of catering to the needs of coffee connoisseurs and others needing a caffeine fix in Rifle and beyond, Olive Ridley’s Coffee and Tea Co. closed Saturday.

The underground — literally underground — coffee shop located in the 200 block of Railroad Avenue is now up for sale, with at least five local parties expressing interest.

The decision, which was officially announced via Facebook Thursday, came down to family, owner Natalie Wilson said earlier this week.



Although the news came as a surprise to some of the 30 people who expressed their sadness and understanding in the Facebook comments thread, the idea of closing the store had been brewing for a couple of months.

It was taking too much time away form the family, Wilson said.



A trip back to California to visit some family over the July Fourth holiday weekend — a trip that meant closing the store for four days — helped solidify the decision.

“That really put it into perspective for me — how much family time I’ve missed out on the past year,” Wilson said.

Eventually the intent, she added, is to move back to California to be closer to family.

However, there are a number of issues that need to be squared away before that happens, including what to do with Olive Ridley’s.

Shortly after posting about closing the business, several local investors contacted Wilson about purchasing the entire business — including the mobile coffee cart, which has spread Olive Ridley’s brand throughout Garfield County.

As of Monday, Wilson said there are five potential buyers, including one who offered cash. Ideally, she would like to sell the whole business, rather than piece by piece.

“My hope is that one of the interested investors is able to keep it open and running the way it is,” Wilson said.

The experience of closing the business, which started as an idea in Wilson’s kitchen, where she would make coffee for friends, stirred a range of emotions.

“It’s been bitter sweet because it’s difficult to walk away from something that I put my whole heart and soul in, but I’m also really proud that I had a vision and I accomplished my goal of creating the type of place I set out to create for this community,” she said. “I’m very proud of that. And I don’t feel like a failure at all. I have my priorities and it’s my family.”

On that note, she recognizes some in the community are disappointed, but many of the regulars understand the decision.

Running the business meant working 16-hour days for months at a time. Outside of the day-to-day tasks, the stress and anxiety that comes with operating a small business detracts from the limited free time.

“I have a new found respect for small business owners … the work they put in, the hours they put in and the time they put in to be open for their communities,” Wilson said.


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