Steamboat Springs Several years ago, Blue Wipperfurth imagined a business where customers were more like neighbors stopping by for some chai and a chat.
Today her vision has a home at the corner of Eighth and Yampa.
Yampa Blue offers the standard cup of joe and good read found at many coffeehouses, but its original setting sets it apart.
Wipperfurth's creative endeavor proves that man cannot live by java and paperback alone.
Atmosphere is important, too. "I wanted it to be a unique experience," she said.
The unique experience begins when customers step inside a room filled with handmade items from around the world. Woven baskets from Pakistan, musical instruments from Ghana and seltzer bottles from Argentina are among the items for sale.
A few steps across the floor and out the back door reveal the heart and soul of Wipperfurth's vision.
The rear-swinging door opens to a large grassy area that looks more like someone's backyard than seating for customers.
It's exactly what Wipperfurth had in mind when she pitched the idea to the building's owner.
The sounds of the Yampa River drown out commotion on Yampa Avenue. Stone footpaths lead to swinging chairs, tables and benches that overlook the river. Flowers bloom everywhere and handmade baskets and pottery line the wooden fence that surrounds the property.
This is where customers become neighbors. There's no rush to down that last bit of mocha.
"You feel like you're not in Steamboat Springs," Wipperfurth said. Several patrons have told her they felt the same when they stepped into the backyard.
Yampa Blue was about four years in the making. Wipperfurth talked so much about opening a coffeehouse and bookstore that one day she decided it was time to put her plans in place.
The details came together. She feels fortunate to have snagged a building along the Yampa River and a partner, Jim Reichert, to join her in her venture.
Wipperfurth's dreaming didn't stop when she opened Yampa Blue's doors to the public earlier this month.
She intends to expand the drink and dessert menu at the request of her customers, who have inquired about grab-and-go sandwiches and more eatables.
Beginning the first weekend in July, she will rent 10 booths on the Yampa Blue property every weekend to artisans who want to sell their wares this summer.
She hopes her vision fills a niche in the community.
"It's a place for everyone," she said.