On a cloudy Friday afternoon I made my way down to our HB-Chenoweth Lane shop. The air was crisp, and as I walked in I could make out a little black ball of fur under one of the tables. As I walked up to the table I was greeted with warm smiles and a little sniff from Finley, a black lab puppy who is currently in training to become an assistance dog. I had an amazing time talking to Bebe Bleakley, Ellen Baldwin, and Barbara Howard. Each of them has done so much for Paws with Purpose and it was great getting to hear their stories.
Just past the Andes Mountains is an area of Central Peru called San Martin de Pangoa. Here a cooperative has been formed, the Cooperativa Agraria Cafetalera Pangoa. Founded in 1977 this co-op was made up of 50 local farmers. After its start, the group began to pick up some traction, and by the mid 1980’s the group had grown to 1,200 members. Each member agreed to set aside three percent of every sale for internal investments. This collection was integral to the infrastructure that is still used by the co-op today.
When walking into Levi House’s apartment it is clear that Levi is an amazing artist. His paintings and creations line the walls and make the apartment feel like an art studio. Levi is talented with many different mediums, but he focuses on graphic design. Levi works at our Outer Loop location, but he is also our very first art intern! It was such a pleasure to sit down and get to know him better.
It’s easy to see why Adrian makes a great manager: he’s hard to ruffle, encouraging and one of the nicest people you’ll meet.
Georgia, Adrian’s former manager at Vint, had to brag on him, “Adrian is not only an amazing Manager & Barista, but he also wrote a book!”
When you stop by HB-Douglass Loop, make sure you ask Adrian about his poetry – he’s an extremely talented writer. His collections of poems will inspire you!
How long have you been working at HB?
A year and a half. I started as a barista at the legendary Chenoweth Lane store, and moved to Vint (our location in the Clifton neighborhood) when an Assistant Manger position opened up there. I have been Store Manager at The Loop since April 2018.
Louisville Native or Transplant?
Transplant. I moved here with my partner a year and a half ago, a day before my first day at Heine Brothers’. Before Louisville I lived in Lexington for four years, and Lubbock, TX for two years before that. Originally I’m from North Dakota, which I consider home.
What do you like to do in your spare time, when you’re not working at Heine Bros.?
When I’m not at The Loop, I am probably writing, at the gym, or at home being terrorized by my two cats. I’ve always got a few writing projects going at once. I’m a columnist at Queer Kentucky, and a contributing editor at a queer-and-trans-run small press and arts organization based in Brooklyn, NY, called The Operating System (an incredible organism that is doing incredible work). I curate a project called “Field Notes”–a cross-disciplinary web series where artists, authors, and creative practitioners from all variety of fields shine a light behind the curtain on their creative practice. It’s quite inspiring. I am also currently working on a second collection of poems.
You may have gotten used to seeing those cans of Phocus in our store, but did you know that Phocus got it start right here in Louisville? John Mittel was born and raised in Louisville and was on his way to getting a medical degree from the University of Louisville. He had been working jobs here and there for his mentor Tom O’Grady, when they became really close. One day Tom showed John an article that had just come out about a popular energy drink that was particularly high in sugar. The drink had done extremely well on the market despite its unsavory ingredient list. This really resonated with John since he had been trapped each semester in UofL’s library studying for exams. Day after day John would have to choose from a dismal selection and reluctantly push those vending machine buttons for a drink he knew could do better.
Layne is a literal bright spot when you walk into Vint – her hair has awesome teal streaks and she’s usually wearing cheerful colors – but it’s her open and friendly demeanor that really puts the sunshine in your day.
“Layne has been with us for a few months, but she’s already an amazing barista!” Georgia, her manager at Vint Coffee, raves. “In her spare time, she works with horses at the barn she rides at.”
Not only will she tell you about the latest true crime podcast she’s listening to, Layne can also tell you some great stories about her 2 horses and her travels. Stop by to say hello – Layne’s not horsing around when it comes to pouring a great latte!
How long have you been working at Vint?
I’ve been working here for around a year and a half.
Louisville Native or Transplant?
Transplant. I’m from Asheville, NC.
How do you spend your time, when you’re not hanging out at Vint?
I’m pretty much either working for hanging out/working at the barn where my horses are. Also hanging out with some of my great coworkers!
Fair trade is so important for farmers as well as buyers of coffee beans. It allows organizations like Maya Vinic to give hands on support and education to farmers. Maya Vinic has made it a top priority to work with farmers on a local level. They see the importance of incorporating local language and culture, as well as respecting the forms of self government that communities maintain. Maya Vinic is a Cooperative Union of 700 coffee farming families that grow and produce coffee beans from over 34 regions within the highland communities of Mexico.
If you have ever met Ashley Ray you know just how cute her pigtails are, how bright her smile can be, and the amazing energy she brings to HB-Shelbyville Road. Ashley manages the store and has created such a warm and welcoming environment for both the employees and customers. It was so much fun to sit down and talk about what makes her so great! When I first arrived at her home I was introduced to her adorable pup Mickey and her kind boyfriend, Mickey. She was quick to tell me that, yes the dog came before the boyfriend! Ashley and Mickey were kind enough to play me some of their beautiful songs, which served as a lovely start to a fun interview.
Where are you from?
I am from Louisville, but I have lived in Indiana for a pretty long time.
What is your favorite drink?
Black coffee, I really like the Peru Coyona
If you have ever been in a locally owned store in Louisville, you know just how enriching they can be for our community. They add color to our surroundings, and fuel a sense of uniqueness among our neighborhoods. It was amazing to learn about an organization that helps keep these businesses thriving. Though it is easy to see local stores all around us, you might not know that there is an organization that supports these businesses and helps educate the community on how important local businesses can be. The Louisville Independent Alliance has made this their mission, and I had the pleasure of sitting down with the Director, Jennifer Rubenstein, to learn more about their great work.
Last year, our preferred espresso machine partner La Marzocco introduced a brand-new competition called Crush The Rush. Typical coffee & latte art competitions can get serious, so La Marzocco wanted to do something different – something fun – that focused on speed, efficiency, and community. With this Crush The Rush was born.
This year, Nashville was chosen as one of the 5 hosting cities, and several coffee companies from the Louisville area made the trip down to compete, including our own team (known as Space Kats and Demon Dogs) of Joe Dininger (HB’s Training/QC Manager), Georgia Lacy (shop manager at Vint), and Layne Sanders (assistant shop manager at Vint). They were accompanied by Tess Lindsey (shop manager at HB-Blankenbaker Pkwy) and Evan Cooke (HB’s Digital Marketing Coordinator) to document the event (and maybe for emotional support as well). In the end, Space Kats and Demon Dogs walked away with the Second Place prize!
We asked them a few questions about the event: