By Kelly Werthmann
DENVER (CBS4) – A new coffee shop could soon be opening its doors in Denver that will also open doors to new opportunities for women in need.
It all began when Kristen Lanning moved to India, a trip that forever changed her life.
“While I was living there I was working for a NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) that specifically rescues minors who are coming out of the sex trade,” Lanning told CBS4.
Her journey quickly turned into a mission to change the lives of others.
“One of the things that I saw there was that these women just needed a good job,” she said, “If you can get these women into a good job then they’re probably not going to be targeted for trafficking.”
That’s how Kristen got the idea to start a coffee shop, which would employ vulnerable women while also energizing their future. It’s a concept she and her husband, Mark, are now bringing to Denver with 8th Day Coffee.
“The 8th Day really symbolizes the idea of a new life,” Kristen said.
The couple hoped to bring new life to the old Rooster & Moon coffee shop on Bannock Street that closed its doors for good last summer but that plan fell through.
“8th Day won’t be calling 955 Bannock home, but they are still searching for the right place in the Golden Triangle/Highlands area,” 8th Day Coffee said in a statement to CBS4.
Food items would be made in house with locally-sourced coffee from Kaladi Coffee Roasters. Then, by 2018, 8th Day Coffee would begin hiring at-risk women.
“For our first year in business, because we are a business and a nonprofit, we’re going to employ seasoned baristas to really get our customer base, programs and other things down,” Mark told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “So summer of 2018 is when we’d start our first cohort of women that we would hire. Our first year fellows would just focus on learning the craft and then the second year fellows would focus on shift lead, management skills, getting their certifications, all the things other employers would love to see them have.”
Some of the first women hired could be the teenage mothers Mark works with at a local school.
“We’ve seen that they have really supportive services there, but then once they graduate, they sometimes tend to struggle without the wraparound services,” he said. “So we want to provide a bridge for the moms that graduate, or women that graduate programs from shelters, and have a trauma-informed business that really knows about their situations and can really cater to them to build a bridge to the workforce out there.”
Lease negotiations are still in the works, but Mark and Kristen are confident they’ll be making coffee and changing the lives of many very soon.
“To be able to give them a place in a community where they can thrive and be supported is so important,” Kristen said.
8th Day Coffee is holding a fundraising event on Jan. 28 at their potential location, 955 Bannock Street. For tickets, visit coffeeforfreedom.eventbrite.com.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.