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10 Years. Wow.

2018 March 15
by Ryan

Well, we did it. We made it 10 years.

I can honestly say that it has been some of the most aggravating yet enjoyable, soul-crushing yet rewarding, and exhausting yet uplifting 10 years of my life. And I wouldn’t change much of it at all.

When I first got hooked in the coffee business back in 1997, I could never have predicted we would be where we are at now. Sure, I knew there was a coffee shop in my future, but I had absolutely no idea how much the shop would ingrain itself into the fabric of everyone’s lives that graced its front door. How much I would celebrate all the daily occurrences that happened. How much we would become such a community hub.

But I know we would not be here today if it weren’t for the support of the absolutely amazing community we call home. Every year for the Festival Parade, we hastily scribble a couple of R&R banners, tape them to whatever pickup truck we can commandeer, and toss a picnic table and Chief into the back. The entire team jumps in and we go throw coffee. And every year I am humbled from the support our community gives us–the cheers and applause from the beginning of the parade to the end tells me just how much of an impact we have made on this community. That, to me, means more than anything else I could have hoped for when I turned on that Open sign for the first time in March of 2008.

Black Forest Festival Parade 2016.

I wish we could celebrate our anniversary with every regular we have seen over the years. Sadly, as is the case with every community, we have lost some of our regulars. Cliff, Terry, Suzi, Mike S, and many more have passed on over the years, and each time I hear the news, I feel like I’ve lost a member of my own family. I just hope they’re looking down on us and smiling.

Terry was a regular in our store from day one. We could guarantee he would pick up something chocolaty. His wife Rosemary still visits us at least twice a week.

We have seen marriages. We have seen divorces. Celebrated new jobs. Helped people find work. Said goodbye to those leaving the Forest. Said hello to those just discovering our community. Laughed during the good times. Cried during the bad. And overall we have become a member of your family–for better or worse.

There’s one group of people I still need to thank. The team that has been by my side since 6 months after we opened. From Allison, our first hire, to Rebecca, our newest team member, we have brought on many people to keep our shop moving forward. As with any close-knit family, we have our disagreements. But in the end, I have and will trust each and every person who works with me with my life. I don’t think I can ever explain how much each and every one of you mean to me.

Our first barista, Allison. Blurry picture because she HATED having her picture taken–I had to sneak it.

From my family to your family and the entire Black Forest Community, thank you. The Forest can be pretty unforgiving to businesses, and I am forever grateful you accepted us into the trees and your hearts. Let’s see what the next 10 years bring!

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