How Fulcrum met The Station
Fulcrum’s head roaster, Blas Alfaro, met Luis Rodriguez four years ago through a mutual customer. The two hit it off – they had a culture and a language in common. And they both loved coffee. Fulcrum has had a great relationship with Luis and his coffee bar, The Station, since then, supporting them as they’ve moved from a small house to a busy shop across from a light rail station.
This is their story.
When Luis Rodriguez opened the new Station coffee bar he had to secure the basic permits and licenses that come with relocating a business. But the most important permission he sought came from an ancient source – the Duwamish tribe. Beacon Hill is their traditional land and Luis wanted the tribe’s blessing before pulling his first shots at the new location. Thus, the great-great-grandson of Chief Seattle was present for The Station’s soft opening. Luis also invited Aztec dancers to perform a danza – a ritual where sage is lit and good spirits are invited to the new space. Rodriguez said it was “a beautiful ceremony”.
Community is everything to Luis Rodriquez and his community is quickly changing. Beacon Hill is gentrifying and neighbors are being priced out of the neighborhood. It’s something that’s good for business, but saddening for people who can’t afford to stay. The Station is located directly across the street from a new light rail station and is flooded twice a day with commuters, many of whom are headed to tech jobs.
Luis wants The Station to be a safe place for people of color, for the LGBTQ community, and for people experiencing homelessness. As I talk to Luis, his eyes dart up and down the street as he says hello to almost everyone who walks or drives by, exchanging snippets of conversation. Everyone seems to know him.
Behind the counter, Luis is gregarious and chatty, keeping one eye to the Mariners game on the flat screen TV and talking sports or weather with customers. The bulletin board in the coffee shop is extra full of fliers announcing local events and the walls are hung with art that represents the ethnic mixture of his neighborhood. There seems to be a continuity when Luis or one of the baristas engages a customer: they pick up mid-conversation, alluding to details that only they know. Personable service. It’s clear he’s not just selling coffee to sell coffee.
Every year The Station engages the community by hosting the Beacon Hill Block Party, an event that features over twenty musicians, kids’ activities, community organizations, and visual artists. It’s all free to the public, paid for by local sponsors. Fulcrum began their relationships with The Station four years ago – back when Luis’ coffee shop was in a small, out of the way house.
“I love my community,” says Luis Rodriguez. “I love my employees, I love my sales people and vendors.” He says quality is important and doesn’t want to serve his customers terrible coffee. Fulcrum continues to support Luis’ vision of an equitable cafe that serves as a community hub, a place that serves delicious coffee and cares about people.
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