Mountain Village’s caffeine-thirsty commuters can now enjoy steaming cups of organic, shade-grown and fair-trade coffee on their Gondola ride thanks to Gondola Grounds, the Mountain Village’s new micro-coffee shop located adjacent to the Gondola terminal in Town Hall Plaza.
But since coffee-drinkers’ cravings don’t shut down when the Gondola closes for off-season, Gondola Grounds doesn’t close for off-season either.
Gondola Grounds opened for business on Oct. 5, at the height of Mountain Village’s notoriously slow off-season. According to Gondola Grounds owner Richard Child, it was no accident that Mountain Village’s newest coffee shop remained open throughout the off-season (and the associated closing of the Gondola.)
He says that the concept of a coffee shop in Town Hall Plaza emerged not solely out of a desire to vend his favorite morning beverage but rather out of a wish to create something that would, in its little way, help energize and connect the slowly growing Mountain Village community.
“From the beginning I wanted it to be open year-round, with the thought that we should have something that is part of the community year-round,” Child says.
Although Child has only been a full-time resident of Mountain Village for the last four years (he and his family had been visiting from their previous home in Florida for the previous 13, however,) he is nevertheless very familiar with the struggles this small and budding community faces when the ski area isn’t bringing in the crowds. Child has been a member of the Mountain Village Town Council since 2009, and is thus well versed in the trials and tribulations business owners face in a tourist-based economy that doesn’t have very many tourists – at least when ski season is over.
“This really popped up out of a desire to grow deeper roots in the community,” he says of opening Gondola Grounds, which is open seven days a week, during the summer and winter seasons as well as throughout both the spring and fall off-seasons.
Gondola Grounds also seeks to do good in the greater, world-wide community as well: All Gondola Grounds coffee comes from Grounds for Change, a company that sells only organic, fair-trade, shade-grown and certified “carbon-free” coffee. Additionally, Gondola Grounds purchases Grounds for Change’s Café Feminino coffees, the proceeds from which benefit the Peruvian women who grow, process, and trade it.
“With every cup of coffee, you’re indirectly supporting women farmers in Peru – so while it may be indirect, it does feel good to know we can support a bigger effort,” Child says.
Not only is Grounds for Change a company that provides a do-good, feel-good product; their coffee also tastes good.
“It’s great coffee,” Child says. “The amount of unsolicited, positive feedback I’ve received is testament to the fact that people like it.”
In addition to Gondola Grounds’ coffee selection, the tiny shop (it is really just a walk-up window,) also provides an array of other grab-and-go goodies. Umpqua Oatmeal cereal bowls, Purity Organic fruit juices, breakfast burritos from Boulder-based Burrito Kitchens, as well as your classic coffee shop muffins and donuts are available as well.
Child admits that while he likes his cup of coffee as much as the next guy, he wasn’t a barista at heart – until now. Child still works his “real job,” as a consultant in the electronic banking industry. His wife Valerie and two daughters Alexa and Jacqueline have been some of Gondola Grounds’ biggest supporters, as has the Mountain Village community as a whole.
“Everyone I spoke to or were involved in this project were just as excited as I was to see it happen,” Child says. “That support has made this project all the more worthwhile.”
Gondola Grounds is open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the high season and 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 in off-season.