Wednesday, July 15, 2020

An Elk Ave community café

Trying something other than virtual reality

By Cayla Vidmar

A coffee shop where Facebooking and checking email is discouraged? Yup. At least for the new location of The Daily Dose in the middle of Elk Avenue.

With the expansion of Clark’s Market grocery store, The Daily Dose and other businesses located next door needed to find a new location. The Daily Dose, owned by Gretchen Wasinger, has moved in with django’s, located on Elk Avenue. Gretchen will run breakfast and lunch service until 3 p.m., and django’s will carry on with fine dining beginning at 5 p.m., as it always has.

With the change in location comes a desire for a space where customers can not focus on work and their devices, but can take a break and interact with their fellow community members face to face.

“What I prefer is the idea of a space that allows the community to unplug and get to know each other,” said Wasinger last month during an interview. “Intimacy promotes community. We can look at each other and share and grow on many levels.”

Wasinger opened The Daily Dose in 2013, and says the neighborhood feel that developed over the years is remarkable. “I witnessed people getting nourished on more levels than just food while they began to chat and get to know each other there. It became a joined experience, eating, drinking, talking, laughing without devices,” she says. “Just like in the olden days, openness creates openness.”

With the business shifting over to Elk Avenue, Wasinger expects to be busier. She says, “What Kate is sharing with The Dose is spacious and wonderful and invites people coming together to just be, have meetings, read a book, write, etc.”

Wasinger believes “Everyone has so much to offer and we can learn from that when we look up and make eye contact.”

It’s this connection Wasinger believes fosters a sense of community, one that is important for a place like Crested Butte. “I think community is what this town is. There is a core group that live and work here that are here for each other and maybe if we can have a safe space to just be, we can continue to foster community,” she says.

This community feeling is one of the most authentic characteristics of Crested Butte, says Wasinger, something she doesn’t want to see diminished by a café being taken over with computers and endless scrolling.

Wasinger admits she never wants to tell people “no,” and she understands that people sometimes need a break from home offices, and that telecommuting for work is an emerging lifestyle. Still, she wants to provide a place with an alternative culture.

Wasinger’s sold-out bumper sticker, a mainstay at her previous location, was “Unplug to connect,” and it’s this theme she is encouraging to keep in her new location at django’s on Elk Avenue.

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