Getting To Know Erik

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Erik Kirby was born in Aurora, CO and spent time on and off the streets from the time he was 18 until now, at the age of 32. Erik joined our team in late February. This elusive and quiet character, that prefers to not be photographed, brings a lot of entrepreneurial passion to our space. Read more about his story below.

IMG_1309How old are you and how did you become interested in working at Purple Door Coffee?

I will be 32 in August. I heard about Purple Door through a Dry Bones contact and we both thought that it would be a good orientation for me to evaluate some of my previous actions at other jobs while learning fundamentals on budgeting and other topics that I didn’t get a really good grasp on when I was younger.

Well, we’re so glad to have you here. What is something that people might not initially realize about you?
I don’t know…I’m a bit of a softie, I guess. I’m an extreme spiritualist and polytheistic.

Are you originally from Denver?
I was born in Aurora and travelled a lot in my early childhood.

Can you share your favorite memory of working at Purple Door so far?
Meeting many new people and just getting strangers to smile.

How do you get strangers to smile?
Casual conversation and a lot of jokes.

Who is someone you look up to?
Will Smith.

Why?
He is a very well-known actor and music artist and overall he does more than just movies. He has businesses and supports causes that are life changing. He is an all-around entrepreneur. I learned when I was younger that he did music and movies and I was really inspired by that. Plus, he’s really good at what he does.

Do you desire to be an entrepreneur?
Yeah. There are a lot of things I would like to do. From tattooing to artwork to building motorcycles… making coffee… all sorts of things. And I’d like to one day write a program for a video game.

Do you have favorite spots in the city?
As far away as possible. I’m not really a big city person, but I do well enough. One day, I’d like have a retreat house, a little shack, but ultimately, I’d like to live where there is a lot of sand and a lot of heat.

Getting to know David

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Summer is quickly upon us! We wanted to take some time to highlight, David, our stoic and compassionate program employee (who also happens to be WICKED smart). He has been with Purple Door Coffee since the middle of October. David took some time to sit down with us and answer questions about himself. His answers were genuine. We are thankful to have him on our team.

David during espresso training at Corvus

David during espresso training at Corvus

How old are you and how did you become interested in working at Purple Door Coffee?

I am 26, just tuned 26 on April 20th! I became interested in working at Purple Door because a good friend of mine, his name is Kevin, he was working in the program at the time. He essentially invited me to apply. I know some of Dry Bones, so I was mainly a word of mouth thing. At the time, coffee wasn’t necessarily on my radar. You know, when opportunity knocks— you answer. Purple Door interviewed me they seemed like really nice people. They seemed like they were honestly trying to help. So, I went for it.

What sort of things might people not initially realize about you?

Sometimes I don’t think people realize that I can be expressive about my feelings and who I am. I can be sensitive. Especially when I was on the streets, it was sometimes hard for me to show all my emotions. Sometimes people get a little a muddled to how I am actually feeling. One of the things that made life difficult from before was that I didn’t know how to express it or share it with people. Purple Door has helped me do that. If people around me are kind, I feel safe enough to talk to them. I don’t have to hide my true self. So, I am is coming out more.

Tell me more about the real you.

The real me is somebody who does not always have to present an image to the world. When you are homeless presenting a face is one of the most important things you can do. You don’t want people to sense weakness. When you are homeless, you want to look strong at all times. But nobody is a rock. So you get in this rut where you cannot lose the mask in company because it is so much easier to protect the the deeper part of yourself from the outside stimuli. You aren’t sure how they are going to respond or what they are going to do. So being able to allow how and what I am feeling to be there and be wholly honest about it is wonderful. It is liberating.

David was excited to open the shop on a beautiful Denver Friday morning

David was excited to open the shop on a beautiful Denver Friday morning

Wow, thank you so much for sharing that. Are you originally from Denver? 

Well originally I am from Thornton. Denver, I moved to when I was 19 years old. I spent seven years here and six of those where on the street.

Can you share a favorite memory from your time at Purple Door so far?

So when I was going through the harder time of trying to figure out where to live my manager, Madison Chandler, came to me and said that if I needed to share anything with her that I could. She said that she may be my boss but that she also was my friend. That was mind blowing to me because up until then bosses had always been the enemy. They are the people who look for the things you do wrong but she actually cared.

Another memory that is my favorite is when I pulled my first successful shot of espresso. I realized that I was actually going to be able to do my barista job. I said, YES! It is possible to do this.

How long did it take you to dial in for the first time after espresso training?

About three days! My first day was just rugged frustration with that machine.

If you could name our espresso machine, what would you name it?

Probably Old Faithful because it does its job consistently day in and day out.

What is your favorite drink to make?

Any latte. Because I like to draw. Trying to draw is always a good time for me.

Oh really, what is your favorite thing to pour? 

Well really I can only consistently pour a heart. It has to be the heart. I get excited when I draw a really great heart. I look at it and say, wow I did that!!

"WOW! I did that!"

“WOW! I did that!”

What drink would you recommend to others to try?

A vanilla latte. Caramel is too much and chocolate is too heavy. Sipping on a vanilla latte is where it is at.

Who is someone you look up to and why?

There is man who is referred to as the Chinese Schindler (who during WWII saved thousands of Jews). Not a lot of people know he existed. He made the call to do a good thing. That is really cool to me. I aspire to do the right thing even when it doesn’t benefit you.

Where are your top three (T3) favorite places to eat in Denver?

  1. Benihana
  2.  Shangri-La in Littleton
  3. Sam’s no. 3 in Glendale

 

For the remaining Saturdays in June, David will be taking over Purple Door Coffee Instagram account to share pictures and a few thoughts on his favorite places in the city. Be sure to follow us at @purpledoorcoffee and look for the #purpledoorstories hashtag!

Getting to know Ricky

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Ricky Wintersession

Ricky made Katie a keychain with our neighbors, Winter Session

Happy May! We wanted to take some time to highlight, Ricky, our big hearted and Denver Sports loving employee. He has been with Purple Door Coffee for 10 months. Ricky took some time to sit down with us and open up about what he experienced growing up here in Five Points. He adds joy and laughter to our shop and we are so thankful for him. Read more about his story below.

So, Ricky how old are you and how did you become interested in working at Purple Door Coffee?

28! I went on a camping trip with Kevin for a week. Kevin kind of persuaded me to work here.

Ricky and Kevin showing off some of our merchandise

Ricky and Kevin showing off some of our merchandise

Where did you guys go camping?

Gunnison, Colorado in Black Canyon.

Just the two of you?

No, a bunch of us like eight or nine people.

Do you like camping?

Oh, it was alright. Different.

What did Kevin say that convinced you to apply for Purple Door?

That I would be good in a coffee shop. He kept saying it. He was in the tent with me for a week.

What sort of things might people not initially realize about you?

I don’t know. Uhm, that I got a big heart.

What are you most passionate about?

People wanting to change.

Is that because you have been there?

Yeah, yeah.

What made you want to change?

I was tired of doing the same thing everyday. Everyday. I just needed something different.

Ricky, you are originally from Denver, right? Can you tell me what that was like?

Yeah, I grew up right up the street. It was different. Definitely different. Yeah.

Well can you tell me a favorite memory from growing up here in Five Points?

Uhm, there wasn’t really anything. I mean this was a rough part of town back in the day. My mom just lived here because of the housing program. We lived here for like five years. We moved out because it was just so dangerous at times. Like by the time I was five I think I had seen already three murders. It was on the block that we lived on.

Wow. Is that when you and your mom moved out?

Yeah, we moved to Aurora and then we stayed there pretty much the rest of my childhood.

Earlier you said that you played basketball here, right?

Yeah, I played at Glenarm for their Recreation team and when we moved I played for the Boys and Girls Club of Aurora. I played there for 6 or 7 years until I was about 14.

Why did you stop when you were 14?

I went to jail.

Could you play basketball while you were in Juvie?

Yeah, I just wasn’t motivated. I was in jail so I wasn’t motivated to play.

Is basketball your favorite sport?

Yeah! Basketball is my favorite sport!

What about it do you love?

You never know what is going to happen. Your team could lose. You just never know.

Yeah, and it could be a close score too! What is your favorite memory or task from your time here at Purple Door so far?

Making drinks. I like making drinks for people.

Ricky loves making drinks and supporting the Denver's professional sports teams

Ricky loves making drinks and supporting the Denver’s professional sports teams all at the same time!

What is your favorite drink to make?

Probably Hot Chocolate. I just like the smell of it.

Do you drink Hot Chocolate normally when you are here?

Sometimes, I really just drink coffee from my Mason Jar.

Who is someone you look up to and why?

I don’t know. It has changed over the years. I don’t think I look up to anybody. I think I just look at my own life. I mean when I was a kid my heroine was my Mom. Growing up, she caught HIV when I was eight, you know? I just watched her slowly die over the years. But she just kept going. That is probably the reason why I looked up to her.

That must’ve been really hard for you. The last question I have for you, Ricky, is about your top four favorites. Where are your top four places in Denver and why?

 

  1. Lookout Mountain’s viewpoint (I like to go watch the sun come up)
  2. Platte River where the Cherry creek meets the platte (I have a lot of memories both good and bad from there)
  3. Mile High Stadium (When the Broncos are playing! But yeah, I walk by it everyday)
  4. My foster parent’s house (It is really secluded, when you are there you won’t even notice that because there is so much to do. Yeah, it is like my little home away from home. When I want to get away from everyone that is where I go.)

 

For the remaining Saturdays in May, Ricky will be taking over Purple Door Coffee Instagram account to share pictures and a few thoughts on his favorite places in the city. Be sure to follow us at @purpledoorcoffee and look for the #purpledoorstories hashtag!

Meet Sateva!

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satevaSateva Walling was born in Lakewood, CO and ended up homeless at the age of 12 due to impossible and terrible family circumstances. Now, at 28 years old, Sateva is over one month sober and has been working at Purple Door for nearly two. She has been a delight to our team; her tough but tender spirit has brought light to our space. Read more about her story below.

IMG_0185

Sateva taking a customer’s order at Purple Door.

 

How old are you and how did you become interested in working at Purple Door Coffee?I’m 28. And I don’t know…I talked to Matt (from Dry Bones) about it and it seemed like something that would help me to develop the skills that I need to put myself in a better place than I was.

Were you worried about working?
Yeah, a little bit. A little nervous. Anxious. Just because it had been so long since I had a job.

Well, we’re so glad to have you here. What is something that people might not initially realize about you?
This is a hard question! I like to write poetry, but I write a bunch of stuff.

Would you ever do slam poetry?
Whaaaat? What is that? Like where you stand up with a mic? If I did, I’d make sure to drop the mic. *MIC DROP* (laughs)

Are you originally from Denver?
Yes. I grew up in Lakewood, but about the age of 12 I started running around downtown.

Can you share a favorite memory of growing up here?
My favoritest memory… Well, I know that my grandma used to wake us up, me and my little brother, at like 4 o’clock in the morning and take us to breakfast at The Dollhouse Café. And then take us to Sloan’s Lake to watch the sunrise.

That’s awesome. What would you get for breakfast?
Pancakes.

Banana? Chocolate chip?
No question. Chocolate chip. I loooooove chocolate chip pancakes.

What is your favorite task to do while at work? What has been your favorite thing so far?
(laughs) I love to weigh out the coffee. It’s just relaxing to me.

 

IMG_0197Sateva weighing out coffee while on shift.

Who is someone you look up to?
Ummm, literally or… because I’m short! So I literally look up to everyone. (laughs) I’d have to say my little brother. Most of my life he’s had two jobs and has had his stuff together even though we’ve been through as much as we have. And even now, he’s sober and has two jobs.

Do you have favorite spots in the city?
One of my favorite spots to go and think is Confluence Park. And I like to go to Sox Place; most of my support is there and I like to interact with the kids that are where I was. I also like to go down to the half circle because it’s quiet and calming. And there’s a spot by the river, off 6th and Broadway, that I like to go to for peace.

For the remaining Saturdays in April, Sateva will be taking over Purple Door Coffee Instagram account to share pictures and a few thougthts on her favorite places in the city. Be sure to follow us at @purpledoorcoffee and look for the #purpledoorstories hashtag!

Meet David!

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We wanted to take a minute and introduce you to David. He’s been with us for about 4 months and is doing great! He recently trained on the espresso machine and will soon be serving you drinks! We’re so thankful for David and can’t wait to see how his future unfolds!

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Name: David
Birthday: April 27

Where are you from?
Colorado

Why did you decide to work at Purple Door?
It was a chance to broaden my skills and improve as a person.

What is a dream you have for your life?
To be a journalist.

What has been the most fun about working at Purple Door?
Barista training at Corvus

What is something you’re good at on the job?
multitasking

What was your favorite cartoon as a kid?
The Tick

What is your favorite food?
This is a loaded question. I love all food.

What is your favorite coffee drink?
Vanilla latte

What is your favorite color?
Green

If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
Greece because I am fascinated with it’s history.

If you could have any super power what would it be and why?
To fly!

Meet Ricky!

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We wanted to take the chance to introduce you to Ricky! Ricky has been with us since late July!

We love having him as a part of our team and think everyone should get to know this guy!

Ricky

Name: Ricky
Birthday: August 4th

Where are you from?
Denver. I grew up around the corner from the coffee shop.

Why did you decide to work at Purple Door?
Because I was looking for a life change.

What is a dream you have for your life?
To have my own radio station/show

What has been the most fun about working at Purple Door?
Meeting new people that I wouldn’t meet on an everyday basis

What is something you’re good at on the job?
Cleaning and counting money. I think I’m good at drinking coffee too.

What was your favorite cartoon as a kid?
The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

What is your favorite food?
Chicken fried steak with all the fixin’s

What is your favorite coffee drink?
Maple Butterscotch Cortado… it tastes like a pancake!

What is your favorite color?
Purple

If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
I wanna go to Vegas

If you could have any super power what would it be and why?
The power to heal people

Meet Kevin!

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Hey Everyone! Meet Kevin! He’s been with Purple Door Coffee for just over 3 months now! We love knowing Kevin and want you to know him too! 14688_911389275584568_6769245529734251521_n

 

Name: Kevin
Birthday: May 17th

Where are you from?
Colorado

Why did you decide to work at Purple Door?
I decided I was tired of not bettering my position. I wanted to heal.

What is a dream you have for your life?
I want to own and manage a giant-super garden that produces food and medicinal herbs.

What has been the most fun about working at Purple Door?
Learning from Phil at Corvus about tasting coffee.

What is something you’re good at on the job?
I love making pour-overs and I am good at it.

What was your favorite cartoon as a kid?
This is hard! It is a toss-up between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and X-Men.

What is your favorite coffee drink?
Espresso straight up!

What is your favorite color?
Purple and not just because I have been working here.

If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
I would go to either the Redwood Forest or the 100 Dere Wood because of the spiritual connection and the sacredness of the natural.

If you could have any super power what would it be?
I would like ones just like the Scarlet Witch

Meet Joe!

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We want to introduce you to Joe! A lot of you have already met him since he’s been working for us for 6 months. He’s been such a great addition to the Purple Door team, and we are so thankful for him!

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Name: Joe
Birthday: May 9th

Where are you from?
-Denver

Why did you decide to work at Purple Door?
-I wanted to actually do something with my life.

What is a dream you have for your life?
-To move somewhere where there are less people and I can
live off the land.

What has been the most fun about working at Purple Door?
-Bugging my bosses and giving them a hard time!

What is something you’re good at on the job?
-Working hard, keeping busy

What was your favorite cartoon as a kid?
-Roger Rabbit!

What is your favorite food?
-Smothered burritos with homemade green chili

What is your favorite coffee drink?
-8oz caramel latte – hands down.

If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
-EVERYWHERE

Meet Kaylee!

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We want to introduce you to Kaylee, our newest employee! She’s been a great addition to the Purple Door team, and we are so excited to have her working with us!

photo-3Name: Kaylee
Birthday: October 6th

Where are you from?
I was born in Colorado Springs and have lived in Denver for 6 years.
Why did you decide to work at Purple Door? I needed a job but my schedule could not accommodate one and I knew Mads and Mark could be flexible

What is a dream you have for your life?
I dream to be a self-sufficient, well-established wife and mother with the ability to be happy within myself and my life.

What has been the most fun about working at Purple Door?
The experiences that have been shared between myself and the staff.

What is something you’re good at on the job?
I’m good at demonstrating  work effectively, and providing a positive, enjoyable experience with the customers.

What was you favorite cartoon as a kid?
Anamaniacs and Tom & Jerry

What is your favorite food?
Chicken Fettucini Alfredo with Asparagus

What is your favorite coffee drink?
Iced Vanilla Latte

If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you go and why? I would go to Europe to see all the Renaissance art and experience the difference in cultures.

 

 

 

Come say hi to Kaylee! She’ll gladly take your order, and probably make you laugh as well!

Meet Jenna!

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We wanted to introduce our other new employee to you! Jenna started working for us a month ago, and we are so have to have her working behind the bar with us! She is a fast learner that is very personable and helpful!

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Where are you from? Denver, Colorado

When is your birthday? September 19th

Why did you decide to work at Purple Door?
I’ve been dealing with homelessness on and off since I was 16 years old. Running on the little amount of faith I had, I applied to Purple Door to work towards my goal of self-sufficiency and to keep myself from returning to the street life.

What is a dream you have for your life?
I plan to on day open up my own coffee shop. I start business school August 2014

What’s been the most fun about working at Purple Door?
Learning everything, helping customers, and being productive.

What’s been the most difficult about working at Purple Door?
Being Quiet. I am a very loud person and I have a hard time keeping the volume of my voice down.

What’s something you’re good at?
I am good at singing and helping others.

What was your favorite cartoon as a kid?
Rugrats

Where in the world would you most like to visit?
Ireland, to better understand my heritage.

What’s your favorite movie?
Wall-e

What’s your favorite food?
Chicken

What’s your favorite coffee drink?
Caramel Mocha

 

 

Come down to the shop and meet Jenna! We love having her here, and she has a very bright future ahead of her!