“Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, and they are always glad you came.”
I’m probably dating myself when mentioning the lyrics of this song from the popular 1980’s show Cheers, but I’ll take that risk if it means that I can better prove a point.
There is a place like that in Valpo. It’s an unexpected hub of activity; an incredible mix of diversity of young and old, conservative and liberal, businessmen and starving artists. Blackbird Café is a place in Valpo where so much happens that it’s pleasantly surprising. I often sit and just look around the café with my usual coffee and smoothie in hands and watch the productivity unfold.
Since I operate my business in a small town, I am often reminded that there are people that don’t do what they want because of the powers that be. Their ideas go against the norm, they’re afraid of what others will think, they have no clue where to start or an imposing force has told them that if they pursue their passion then they will be run out of town.
All of this can be and has been bypassed at Blackbird Café. When you walk in you gain acceptance –no matter who you are, what you look like or what you do for a living. The atmosphere is comfortable and it brings in the independent thinkers and promotes open communication. Thus, businessmen can be found conducting meetings there, high school kids work on projects there, nonprofits collaborate there, old-timers like to jawa bout all of the above, couples go on dates there, artist go and sketch and writers go there and write.
Blackbird Café may look like a place to hangout and get a great cup of coffee, but it’s so much more. In this small and intimate setting people grow and flourish. There’s no place in Valpo quite like it. And owner Mary Koselke encourages people to treat her business as more than just a restaurant, because she knows that it is more than that. Mary believes in letting people have a voice and not telling them to be quiet. So, as her way of helping and having her own voice heard, she lets her customers eat, drink and ignite explosively great ideas in her little cafe. And as we all know, dynamite comes in small packages.
I love it when people who are already doing their own thing reach out and help others do the same. Pursuing your passion is probably the hardest and yet the most fulfilling thing you’ll ever do. So are you scared to try? Not know what you want yet? Not sure where to go or who to talk to? Terrified of that your idea or choices won’t be accepted? Then take some time and grab a table at Blackbird Café. Get yourself some coffee and some of their good food, take a look at their artwork and bulletin board, turn on your laptop, open your notebook, talk to someone there, take a deep breath, exhale–just start. .
It’s amazing what great things can happen over a scratch made blueberry muffin and a cup of Highlander Grog.
Chris Mahlmann is the founder, CEO, and publisher of the LIFE networks and has developed the industry standard for connecting people with all that is positive in their community. Visit Chris on Google Plus, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.