Heidi Plumb and Kale Dankenbring
DescriptionSpouses Heidi Plumb (41) and Kale Dankenbring (47) recall the journey of travel and enlightenment they completed before opening a small coffee shop in Kansas.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Heidi Plumb
- Kale Dankenbring
Recording LocationVirtual Recording
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00:00 Work wedding. Hat 47 and today is Saturday, November 7th 2020. We are in St. Francis, Kansas and this is Heidi Plumb and she's my wife.
00:19 Yes, and my name is Heidi Plumb and I am 41 today is Saturday, November 7th 2020 at St. Francis Kansas in I am with my husband killed and can bring.
00:37 All right. How did you get here? How do we get into coffee?
00:43 We started in the at the Roasterie Royal coffee in Phoenix, Arizona after quitting my job. That was like it was a financially stable position with the third-party Health Administration company and I really just didn't like it and felt like I needed a change and my sort of interim job, I guess until I figured out what I was going to do was for a coffee roaster and Phoenix and I absolutely loved it and discovered like this. We both discovered kind of this whole world of coffee that we didn't know existed.
01:24 Yeah, that wasn't really into coffee at the time either really not like we are now and you were at the very beginning anyway, and I always have like coffee's always been just something that I've I've loved and even with so when I got out of college, I kind of just followed the whole try to find a a good a good position with a company based on what I should major didn't and the problem with that was every job. I found I just wasn't very happy and I used to go to coffee shops like during my breaks and just wish I was one of the Baristas, you know the movie greatest. That was my
02:17 Well, I might work I would I was in it in Phoenix. We met at the star work basically and so at work I would want to get out of my office and I would go to the coffee shop down the street and I in the corner and work work on my work remotely at the coffee shop. That's kind of what I started getting into more in a coffee. It does.
02:48 I think I'm so there was yet there was a. Of time where I was just kind of interviewing for jobs and I ended up getting like a temporary job in the office where he killed it it and that's how we met and we would just go down the street and and have coffee together and that's kind of how we ended up like I guess getting to the point where we went on our first date. So I guess
03:20 Maybe in a way like the coffee shop and if that was the one I ended up working at sort of yeah, and I guess once I started working at Royal coffee and had quit my my job with the health insurance administrator.
03:45 I just I guess my favorite thing was interacting with the people that came in every day and then learning more and more about like how to make coffee better and I discovered just by accident kind of
04:02 Cuz I had gone to the the coffee shop that I worked with every day, and they had fresh roasted coffee beans. I'd gone there every day and then one morning.
04:14 I went to Starbucks and thought wow, this doesn't taste as good as like the fresh roasted coffee and you know, nothing against Starbucks, but the fresh roasted beans considered better.
04:38 Now you got me hooked more on good coffee specialty coffee.
04:43 And then we got interested in roasting and
04:46 Just asking questions. I guess I kind of go back to the roasting room. I guess I'll talk to you in a little bit and watch stuff reminder motorcycle shop time to on the side, which I guess we can I quit my corporate job and decided to work for the coffee roaster around the same time. And this was not long after we were we got married you quit your job and you went a hundred percent into your motorcycle shop. So we both kind of like me to take change around the same time or within the same like maybe 5 months. Yeah, and then you said we were going to travel for a while.
05:38 Yeah, we kind of just didn't know what we wanted to do or where we wanted to live. We were thinking maybe we'd move to Denver Denver's very like very expensive to high very high cost of wedding, but we thought
05:54 Outre maybe we want to live there and
06:00 Yeah, we decided that we actually sell everything. I remember when we got when we came to the conclusion to sell everything. We are kind of not sure what we wanted to do kill his his partner was kind of wanting to buy him out of his motorcycle shop and
06:24 I was I've always wanted to travel. So remember we were talking about it and I said, you know, we could we could travel we could save some money we could travel very cheaply cuz I think like a common a common belief about travel is that you have to have a lot of money to do it and I've been following website called Couchsurfing for a bit and just read some travel blogs of people that just were you know backpacking and
06:57 You know what hitchhiking are like using the really like low-cost.
07:05 Forms of transportation and so I was excited when we started selling things off everything. We had you in my motorcycle if you never thought of giving them, but I thought well, I'll just buy another one later and turns out it was even better. So it all worked out.
07:29 And then and then how did we get into coffee on our trip like I do we get we kind of what kind of what kind of press pause on the whole what are we going to do for the rest of our lives? Cuz you know, I thought about going back to school. But again that's like a huge commitment also financially. So yeah, we just music and then he sold like the his part of the motorcycle shop in Phoenix to his partner in we just
07:59 We started moving East but we did I think we traveled for like 6 months before we landed on wanting to open a coffee shop. We we started in Phoenix moved East spend some time in Denver came to St. Francis visit your family went to Texas to visit my family.
08:37 And then use New York and then Ireland and then I can lend and it bounced around there. We had a place to house sit there my boss at the coffee shops mother was a teacher in England and she said, oh I'm going to be traveling for the summer. So you guys will come and sit for it after I moved to Egypt for a while and then we went to India and then you spent a lot of time in India and then when we got to the Pasha now, which was a 10-day Meditation Retreat where you can't we couldn't speak to each other. You can really see each other and talk to anybody. You can work supposed to read you weren't supposed to listen to music or have any
09:25 Any interference with your mind at all? And that's when I started drawing these plans for a coffee shop in a trailer.
09:36 And then what was it? Was it before or after when we were at Lake Beach Community and we were there for like a month and I read so many books because I had time and remember I read that book. Holy cow and it's about this woman who is from Australia who ended up in India for several months and she was talking about the passion and meditation and where they had a there's a little town they're called push-ups and it's kind of an area where a lot of people from India due on a pilgrimage are there and we did The Meditation Retreat there, but prior to that there was that tiny little tiny do a honeydew Cafe.
10:36 Which was the same size basically as the trailer we started.
10:48 Have our own coffee shop. This is what I would want. It was just a little tiny place and people there.
10:57 I know is it and if that's where we started drawing the plans actually, I think a little kids booklet layout I guess trailer and then we went to we had to schedule of a passionate and so we were scheduled to arrive there. So we had all these ideas remember because then you also wanted to open motorcycle shop. So we are like a coffee a coffee like a mobile Coffee espresso roasting unit in a motorcycle shop. That's kind of what we were exchanging when I was in when we were basically basically and isolation what it is. It's what it was very peaceful at night back in the room is when that's when I started expanding on the drawing and then
11:48 I wrote down a list of every single thing we needed at all. I can think of from the copy shop work we did before and then the drawings of it. We were supposed to be doing all this but I did it anyway, so nobody helps him for 10 days. We couldn't speak we had to meditate for I mean it was basically I don't know. Like at least 12 hours a day of meditating and not being able to talk. I was in hell for the first 3 days. I was like, what did we do? This sucks because I can talk her and it was really hard for me. But we were also separate to we had our own little kind of David, you know, cuz we have been together for how many months traveling and then we got to have this space apart. And that was that was kind of a nice you mean.
12:48 This depression and medication to is completely like ice donation-based. So you go and like at the end of it and they provide a space for you a living quarters on while you're there as well as meals and then at the end you you donate what you can and it's such a it was such a cool opportunity to one like it completely in the present. I remember you saying you had like an endless amount of patients after word. Yeah. Yeah and then started also like coming up with ideas. So remember afterward we had so much to talk about cuz we had all these great ideas.
13:36 You're bouncing off each other. And then after that where we go on our coffee Journey would it would be next when we got home late looking for spaces in you after the passionists said would you ever want to try Saint Francis? And after the Pasha he said would you want to try living in st. Francis? And I said, you know, yeah, we can try it. I'm not opposed to it if they don't like it when you shop sweet.
14:14 Well, they had a coffee shop but not a roaster and we thought it would be there temporarily anyway, cuz it was in a trailer and my boss up there at Royal coffee in Phoenix. I had contacted him and told him what we were interested in and he said well in the meantime if you guys both want to work here when you get back you're hired and we actually decided. Okay, we'll try Saint Francis and
14:48 I think that's when we we called Hills Family to kill skill grew up in st. Francis and like your mom your dad What's the temperatures are here and so you can do like you said, well, I'll contact them and see if there's any like that and so this building and my Dad was supposed to go look at it and I don't know if he did or not, but he said he House available. So we we settled on $12,000 for this this building needed probably $100,000 in words.
15:48 Nepal by the time we decided we buy it and we had you know, obviously since we had sold everything we had a savings and we had traveled so cheaply we hitchhiked we met people along the way where you know, we'd be able to stay within then and India our hotel rooms really good three bucks. And so we ended up you can only wire I think it was $3,000 at a time. So we wired to your dad and then
16:31 And then we when we made it home, we worked at the rooster. We worked at real coffee for a little bit. And then you came here in April of 2012 and you know started crying and crying garbage what that trailer we bought the the U-Haul the know-nothing U-Haul the car haul trailer and that was what we were that's what we
17:09 Decided to refabricated into the coffee shop so bought the trailer and we thought we bought motorcycle repair tools and then
17:29 Your modem login the trailer and I headed for Kansas why you stayed to work when I got here saw the place and then realized it was endless work you like for a for building an apartment. Basically in was the first goal inside this Warehouse building.
17:49 Yeah, and then you kind of got the apartment going and the Motorcycle Shop, but then by the time I got here you are here in April and then I was here in June. It was nothing the problem. We ran out of money we couldn't and then we couldn't get a loan to like open the coffee shops. We had no like, you know, I mean more than we traveled so we didn't have enough income. Yeah, we ended up remember we thought we were going to be open in the summer of 2012 and we didn't get open until April 2013.
18:36 About a year longer than we expected to get the trailer ready. Once it was all outfitted in the parking lot of the senior center, or was it the street and me to go to a city council meeting to ask permission to open the coffee shop in the parking lot of the senior center. So they said yes, and then we opened and we were pretty busy right away with were not able to I went outside and like the people at the senior center have a yardstick.
19:16 Measuring how far we are building in anywhere, but we were blocking pedestrian traffic cables going to the power which were safely covered but they were still complained so hard on trailer so you can move on
20:03 And then that condemned building if it hadn't been for the city council putting that in the paper saying they needed to clean that up the owner when I sold it to us. Give me about another complete garbage can of the property for $3,000 thousand dollars. So there was no no north wall trash yesterday in the video first about it. He cleaned out the basement trash which is basically old busted concrete powder dirt rocks.
20:56 Do get in and then we took over ownership of it. Basically at that point with rocks.
21:05 Set the foundation I guess for the trailer and then we moved it in.
21:10 And made an outdoor seating area and then we were there for what a year without a roof in 2015 and in the community space opened up the trailer like 10 inches took it apart trailer in about that. I took off and I covered the north wall with that for decoration that will help you both bathrooms. And then roshak Little Shack was already there and actually built that before that.
21:47 Before we close it all in because we're the real somewhere. We need more space in the trailer, basically.
21:53 Yeah, and then you started building the kitchen and what 2017 turn off the trailer I think and I have a commercial kitchen.
22:08 And we've been busy ever since I guess 11 when we started coming when we came up with the plans and know today were pretty much. Okay, like that's
22:29 Yeah, yeah, what what do you think of star next?
22:39 For Next plan. Do we have one?
22:43 Soma coffee that's good idea if we want to sell more coffee online we'd like that we do sell coffee online.
22:52 I'd like you to be able to not I mean, you're you're out there so much and it takes away from your motorcycle business and so would be nice if you could spend more time or busier than we ever thought. That's that's even even soda. Some of our best customers were the first ones to tell us never where you guys are nuts all that.
23:39 Pretty funny but it's worked out and moving to people always ask me when they come in. Like how did you adjust to this place, you know being from Phoenix and I mean, I guess like for me it was just another cuz I moved a lot of places like I don't really feel like I'm from anywhere when people ask me where I'm from. It's like such a weird like it gives me a little bit of anxiety. It was never really from anywhere and I've moved on time. So I was always like well if it doesn't work out with me and work moving places and changing things is like pretty normal for me. So I was like, it'll like since we've been here now for 8 years eight and a half years. I think it's it's I mean, I love this community and its I've been the most consistent here than I think I've ever
24:39 Also because of the coffee shop cuz it's like, you know, I get to do this every day and it's very well and 1/2 hours from Denver. So that was no problem. We would go every other weekend some months we go every weekend we go to Denver and we have to get supplies anyway.
25:02 I'm on vacation. Now, we get it all ordered in but we can we can go anywhere we want really if you want to know except for now. Yeah, but being here is and having the low cost of living has helped us complish a lot of things. We didn't think we'd be able to do.
25:31 But yeah, I don't know. I mean, I guess like now I feel like we're at the point where we're just taking it one day at a time to see what's going to happen cuz you know, they had to close anything completely like I know a lot of places have we had to close for dining for like a month and we just like went back to our roots and Window Service and curbside and delivery. And so but, you know here to 3 years or so.
26:13 I know every day I'm kind of like.
26:16 You know, I'm just happy that I can like still have a job because I feel grateful for that cuz I know and our customers keep us employed. I'm very grateful to them and they know there's a lot of people that I've had to be late offer or not or not be able to open or haven't been able to keep their their spaces open. And so I feel very grateful if the same time like to Siri because I'm sure health food with we already do offer tons of health food are pretty health-minded, I think.
27:08 A lot of people are helpful. And that was one thing that I thought we could bring here. Cuz when we first moved here you go out to eat and you get like a choice of Burgers and Fries Food and Pizza in like that stuff is great, but you don't want to eat that everyday low, so that's I mean
27:32 We want to expand our healthy stuff. I think I definitely am like one and working on that and I think that there's a lot of people that you know, appreciate that. So yeah specially now we want to do that people want
27:50 Do you want to be eating healthy nutritious food to try to stay healthy if they can do they do in tea?
28:14 Next what next?
28:20 Where we are on time probably 30 minutes.
28:25 Cloud Lounge
28:29 What are we going to do? What are we going to do with?
28:34 Coffee area make any changes with their coffee.
28:38 Man, I mean you can't really make too many changes like we we have all the dessert coffee drinks, which I would love to just you know, take away a lot of that stuff, but had a Nitro coffee.
28:57 Pretty much. Yeah, we the most sugary coffee drinks in battle monster black coffee, or
29:05 You're a Little Sugar Hill coffee drinker.
29:22 I don't know. I'm kind of at a point though. We're
29:26 I'm so focused on the food piece of it that I'm it's kind of taking me away from the coffee side a bit doing motorcycle works.
29:40 Kind of is the same problem with you doing a lot more food. Not much coffee. Do not disturb your coffee obviously, but our help we have just more of the coffee then I think right now though cuz we went through.
30:01 Kind of a
30:04 We've we've been really lucky with the stuff that we've that we've had and I mean, I feel like there is become almost like family to us and I think what's fun about our space is that we have like really good relationships with the people that work with us. And so I guess just everyday I'm thinking like, how do I just keep this going where we all get along? And we all kind of are like each other's support systems and you know family outside of family and what do we need to change? So we're not feeling like we're being pulled in too many different directions between cuz I I think there's definitely a point where we started like we were doing coffee and we're doing it really well and then we add it on the liquor license and then we closed in the space and started doing events and started doing some food and then built a commercial kitchen and now I'm at a point where I kind of want to play.
31:04 Back and see like what we can do for, you know still serve the community, but maybe maybe like edit think we should can we talked about this that we should maybe
31:20 Grow back some of the menu items as far as the food side and focus on the healthy and what what really sells everyday and what's really good for people and then you can do your yoga maybe if you did that. Yeah well and that's again, you know, I need to have space or I need to have time to to be able to like, you know why I spent a lot of time and money on my yoga certification and because we don't have the Staffing that we painted need, you know day today that makes it hard to teach classes or I'll do some modifications to the space and then you can do yoga in the back and I need to have yoga again cuz you were always busy when you offered classes.
32:13 You are always full so easily right now. It's like one day at a time. We're not going to obviously do yoga classes right now during, you know, see how see how it goes for motorcycles red wine beer logo beer.
32:46 Yeah, so I mean at the end of the day, I'm really glad that.
32:52 We ended up doing what we did. I love this community. I love the spaces that you know, we we fell and
33:01 I just want to keep making them better and keep doing what we're doing.
33:07 Have no desire to leave, you know our little Community which when we first moved here right there, I wasn't always sure.
33:14 It would be like our forever home was pretty much normal mostly normal here. We're lucky we have such good friends. Do we get to touch base with everyday? And I think that's well, that's good for your health according did you know?
34:02 This has been fun and
34:05 Yeah, I have some kind of awkward to my friends and I always say when somebody asks me. Oh, I told kale this did he tell you in like no, he didn't tell me where Mary or don't communicate.
34:25 I guess we're done.
34:31 We have to go back to work now.