We moved to Lyons in August 1989, when Sam accepted a position at the Old Stone Congregational Church and the rest is history. Our kids, Samuel and Rachel, 6 and 3 years old, began kindergarten and preschool the day after we arrived. That Christmas, Sam partnered with Eric Smith at the Methodist Church to begin a Food Basket Drive, which has continued to grow, with the help of the Boulder County Sheriff Dept and many volunteers, and now is sponsored by LEAF.
I began working at The Stone Cup in May, 2003, when Mike Whipp was the owner. He had purchased the old Lyons Post Office property and remodeled it to create a small coffee shop and fitness center (The original Stone Cup).
In September of 2004, Sam and I purchased the property and business from Mike, forming Ms Mindy’s Café, LLC dba The Stone Cup. In all my wildest dreams I had never once imagined owning a small business, let alone a coffee shop! Our daughter Rachel began working for us and quickly became our lead barista and creative consultant. Our son Sam helped during the summers of 2006 and 2007.
With guidance from Cathy Christiansen, we developed our signature baked goods, using local and organic ingredients whenever possible and eventually converting some recipes to be gluten-free, including the crust for our delectable quiche. For years, we made and served an incredible amount of food from a very small area in the coffee shop. Baristas made all drinks, baked, and worked together on the small food line. We made egg sandwiches, bagels, lunch sandwiches, salads and soups.
In 2009, we did a much-needed expansion, and Mayama Movement Studio brought their joyful energy to our newly remodeled studio space. We also procured our liquor license and opened our expanded seating and bar-service area. We began a Friday evening concert series, which eventually grew into a successful fall and winter music and open mic nights, paving the way for hosting music every Saturday and Sunday morning all year long.
We also had the pleasure of displaying art year-round, featuring the incredible talent of local artists including Jocelyn Farrell, Brent Hollingsead, Sally King, Kahlie Sue Pinello, Sally Truitt, Rachel Tallent and so many others.
In early September 2011, we happened upon an opportunity to purchase a small home near the café, which has been a place of solace and delight for us.
On September 11, 2013, the 100-year Flood stopped us all in our tracks. We were open on the morning of September 12 offering hot coffee and internet connection until the Town said the water had failed. On Friday the 13th, with the help of many friends, we organized a community cook off/feed in our cafe parking lot. Sam and several friends built a temporary firepit away from the lot and another friend brought his small Weber and a bag of charcoal.
Between them, they cooked an incredible amount of meat (everything we had, and much more that was donated from other businesses and personal freezers.. chicken, steak, hotdogs, shrimp, fish, you name it. We served up all the prepared salads and produce we had in our walk-in cooler, and others added to it. We must have served over 1,000 people, and everyone was well fed. It was a sentimental affair and wonderful to see so many gathered together for a final community farewell. We then closed for six weeks until the Town regained its infrastructure and reopened on October 26, the morning of the Halloween Parade.
By then Mayama had moved to their current location, and Ken Wadjda opened the Lyons Cinema and Photography Art Center in the studio space, offering fun movie nights and photography sessions.
Over the years we’ve welcomed several talented chefs to the Stone Cup Kitchen, including mainstay Chef Brett Eicher who’s been whipping up our amazing burritos since 2015. Other standouts have been Modou Jaiteh, who’s Jacaranda brought delicious evening dinners and memorable brunch items. Miguel Kim also shared his talents, most recently with his “evening restaurant,” Babo, offering a Korean fusion menu.
In 2018, we began remodeling the studio area, creating a lovely space with a private garden patio and full-service bar for hosting parties, showers, wedding rehearsal brunches, or other small gatherings. We began booking events in August and were looking forward to a full schedule in 2019 and 2020.
But, in mid-March, of 2020, COVID reared its ugly head, turning everyone’s world around, and forcing us all into quarantine. We reopened on June 4, with shorter hours, setting up an ordering station at our open garage door, running food and drinks to customers waiting on our patio; and donning masks as part of our daily wardrobe.
As the weather changed and temperatures dropped, we made way for inside ordering, while Brett kept us supplied with pre-made burritos, and our bakers made quiche and all our original baked goods. As COVID rules relaxed, we expanded our hours, and Brett and Miguel continued to share their mad skills in the kitchen. We also welcomed Nicole Bookman of Sage & Grace Botanicals into the studio space.
After 18 years of tending to our beloved business, Sam and I made the decision to retire. Our final day of business, September 5, 2022, was bittersweet. It will take some time to absorb the reality. Through all these years, The Stone Cup took on a life of its own as a community hub, and destination point for bicyclists, travelers and tourists. It was, for us, a living entity.
I am amazed as I reflect on how many employees we have had through the years, many of whom became lifelong friends. It’s especially sweet to recall the many kids who have worked for us and were nurtured within The Stone Cup family. It’s incredible that several high school boys grew up with us and learned invaluable cooking and barista skills.
We will both miss so much about our roles as stewards of Lyons’ Front Porch and everything we have shared with the community through the years. So many memories. So much love. So many friendships. Thank you all for so many years of kindnesses and support. Now we are ready to relax, spend more time with family and friends, enjoy our home, and embark on some new adventures.
We look forward to continuing the community Christmas Eve and Easter services at the Wildflower Pavilion. This will be our 18th year. See you around town!