New cafe in northeast Durango mixes plants, drinks and good vibes – The Durango Herald

The neighborhood store already has regulars who stop by almost every day

Mother and daughter Laurie, right, and Haley Wilhelmsen, owners of Still Life Coffee & Botanicals, show off their new store at 1301 Florida Road. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Sweet Bloom coffee and tropical houseplants are key ingredients in the warm, inviting atmosphere mother and daughter Laurie and Haley Wilhelmsen aimed to create at their new Florida Road boutique, Still Life Coffee & Botanicals.

The Wilhelmsens said they wanted to take their family’s longtime passions for coffee and plants and combine them to create a space that everyone can enjoy.

“We didn’t want to be another Main Street tourist trap,” Haley said. “Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it’s just a different culture than what you get in a store surrounded by neighbors.”

Hot coffee is served at mother and daughter Laurie and Haley Wilhelmsen’s new boutique, Still Life Coffee & Botanicals. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Laurie Wilhelmsen, co-owner of Still Life Coffee & Botanicals, works with newly arrived flowers at the company on May 27. In addition to coffee, tea, pastries and tropical plants, Still Life is testing a fledgling floral service. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

She said she and her mother wanted to create a space with a sense of community. The store, which opened this spring in northeast Durango near J. Bo Pizza & Rib Co., already has regulars who stop by almost daily.

Laurie said people ask her almost daily, “How do you feel?” She tells them it’s the humidity, but they say it’s the atmosphere in the store; they like the way the atmosphere soothes them.

“That’s a huge compliment,” Laurie said. “Because coffee is not unique.”

The shop’s coffees are all made with coffee beans from Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters, Haley said. The roaster is based in Lakewood.

She said Sweet Bloom’s beans not only make delicious coffee, but she appreciates their business practices of working closely with growers and baristas to deliver quality seasonal harvests.

Still Life Coffee & Botanicals patron Kameryn Dean works on her computer surrounded by plants inside the store. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

“They are an organic direct trade roaster, which means they work closely with their growers season after season to deliver a really consistent crop that is processed very well,” she said. .

Still Life Coffee & Botanicals offers single-origin coffees that may only be available one month a year, Haley said.

Laurie Wilhelmsen, co-owner of Still Life Coffee & Botanicals, makes a Friday coffee drink with the company’s espresso machine imported from Italy. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Jerry McBride

“So the way they make coffee feels like this really nice agricultural offering rather than just a commodity, which is really special to me,” she said.

Durango has a nice collection of locally roasted coffee, but Haley wanted to highlight seasonality and diverse farmers, she said.

For non-coffee drinkers, the shop also offers an “expansive” tea menu, Haley said.

Still Life Coffee & Botanicals is located at 1301 Florida Road. Since opening in March, the boutique has grown a chain of repeat customers who like to go there for its good vibes and “calming” feeling, Laurie Wilhelmsen said. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Jerry McBride

Still Life Coffee & Botanicals is a women-led and operated organization, Haley said. She and her mother are 50-50 co-owners; they buy the pastries sold to customers from a chef who is a young mother and changes her range of dishes every week.

They also sell jewelry made by local female artists; African violets grown by another local woman and plant enthusiast, and ceramics sourced from local potters.

“We’re just trying to get things that fit our aesthetic creative vibe (of) people who are really passionate about what they do and give them a place to show off their work,” Haley said.

The flowers and indoor plants that take up half of the shop are for sale. Among them are many tropical varieties, mostly in Dracaena, Philodendron and various succulent genera, Laurie said.

“Our prices are relatively low, but we offer a very wide variety,” Laurie said. “You probably couldn’t find most of these products at Home Depot. It’s deliberate. We try to separate ourselves, and people love our price point. »

The most expensive plant in the store right now is a cinnamon tree which costs around $200. The cheapest items are the $5 plants.

Haley Wilhelmsen, left, co-owner of Still Life Coffee & Botanicals, and Louise Lootens make coffee on May 27. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Jerry McBride

The Wilhelmsens found that Durango is home to a pretty nerdy community of houseplants, Haley said. She and her mother weren’t sure what to expect when they decided to sell plants, but a few days after opening, complete strangers found themselves in their shop making friends with succulents.

Laurie said they try to help people buy their plants. Clients will describe where in their home they plan to place a certain plant and Laurie will give them the direction. She said customer service is important, whether it’s plants or coffee.

At some point, possibly this fall, Laurie and Haley would like to start hosting a variety of workshops ranging from African Violets, bonsai, basic houseplant care, repotting and landscaping. interior,” Laurie said.

Haley said the shop also had a small-scale flower operation that continued to ramp up. So far, she has a few wedding events planned for this summer.

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Fresh pastries are sold at Still Life Coffee & Botanicals. The baked goods selection changes weekly and includes tasty homemade syrups, such as homemade caramel and “a lovely vanilla bean syrup,” said co-owner Haley Wilhelmsen. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Haley Wilhelmsen, co-owner of Still Life Coffee & Botanicals, works with newly arrived flowers in the business at 1301 Florida Road. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

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