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When I was in high school, my home-away-from-home was a coffee shop called Circle Moon. It was in an adorable Victorian house, played excellent music and was a great place to hang out with my friends. It closed in my senior year. I was heartbroken.
As a freshman at University of Colorado, I desperately searched for somewhere I could go off-campus and work. (I’ve never been much of a library studier.) Midway through the year, I noticed people on Twitter talking about this place called Atlas Purveyors. Every one of my Tweeps was going there, tweeting about their plans to meet there and the awesome tea lattes slung by a guy named Chris.
I’d had a coffee shop change my life once before. But I had no idea how much of an impact this place would have on me.
Chris Rosen, who has now become a friend, announced yesterday that Atlas Purveyors will be closing its doors this Sunday evening. I am once again heartbroken, but this time I’m also overflowing with gratitude for everything Atlas has brought into my life.
I’ve written about Atlas many, many times, because it is unequivocally a nerd haven. The cash register is covered in startup stickers. Nearly every table has someone writing code, or reading a book, or working on a new illustration. The music varies from trip-hop to Icona Pop, and the baristas are incredibly passionate when it comes to helping you find the right kind of tea.
Atlas was ground zero for so many community events in Boulder. It was the home of Boulder Open Coffee Club (#BOCC), where people packed the shop every other Tuesday to talk tech and anything else that came to mind. Last Thanksgiving, Atlas hosted a gathering for people who didn’t have family members in Boulder. They set up tons of power strips during Boulder Startup Week so we could charge our phones that had been drained from livetweeting sessions all day.
I spent countless hours at Atlas, writing papers, writing this very column, reading books and trying to cure my hangovers with some peppermint tea. The chalkboards were covered in beautiful pieces of art, as well as announcements of community events, people looking for roommates, and jokes about luggage combos.
Atlas is a true community. Every time people wanted to meet up, it wasn’t “let’s get coffee” — it was “let’s get Atlas.” I don’t have enough fingers or toes to count the friends I’ve made there, the amazing ideas that were hatched there, the number of soul-rocking hugs I’ve gotten there.
The community that surrounds Atlas — including people sharing their passion for the shop on social media — is what drew me to community management in the first place. Through Atlas, I found my very first post-college job, discovered new music, learned people’s incredible stories and ate more bagels than anyone probably ever should.
Boulder nerds are losing an amazing place this week, but I hope and believe we can keep the community alive. Take some time this week to swing by the shop, grab one more cuppa and say thanks to Chris, who has given Boulder an incredible gift the last four years.
Jessica Ryan is a community manager and CU grad. She writes about nerdy things once a week for the Colorado Daily. On Twitter: @JessicaLRyan.