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Purple Door History and Motivation

History and Motivation for the Social Enterprise

The dream that became Purple Door Coffee began in 2007.

It’s always been Dry Bones’ mode of operation to avoid “reinventing the wheel.” If there’s a great GED, housing, or medical program, then let’s partner with them! We don’t need to start our own program. Partnership is our forte. If there’s a great drop-in center, then let’s partner with and encourage them while continuing in our areas of expertise. But if a need is not being met, let’s innovate and begin something new!

In 2008, after living life among our friends for 6 full years, we finally became overwhelmed by the lack of employment success and job opportunities for our friends.

Some of our friends would occasionally land a job at Subway or McDonald’s, but would lose it after 2 or 3 weeks. Maybe it was a fight with the manager, an issue of hygiene, or tardiness, but they would be let go time and time again. Other friends could not even make it to the interview stage due to criminal history or a lack of work experience or education. Still, other friends had such difficulty reading applications that they would become frustrated and quit before ever putting pen to the paper. (And absolutely – we have had many friends that have landed jobs at Starbucks, Aramark, and countless other places with long-term success. Some of our friends don’t need as much help in this area as others.)

Our friends often long to leave the streets behind and usually don’t have the resources or opportunities to do it on their own. We decided in 2007 that if we were indeed serious about seeing our friends who wanted to leave street life succeed and remain off the streets, then we needed to invent something new to solve this missing component of employment. (You can also read a little bit about the innovative fulfillment of Dry Bones’ housing and rehab dreams here.)

Mark and Madison

We dreamed, prayed, and waited for the right opportunity. We asked God to send us some capable folks who could carry this vision to the next level. To make a long story short, Madison Chandler (former DB summer and one-year intern) and Mark Smesrud (also a former DB intern) picked up the dream and ran with it!

Thanks to partnerships and collaborations with Belay Enterprises of Denver and New Horizons of Seattle, Purple Door Coffee shop opened for business in 2013 on Welton Street (Now closed. Read on…).

In 2016, Purple Door began roasting green coffee, sourced through reputable and ethical channels. The roaster warehouse is located in Englewood near the Oxford light rail station.

Soon, the roaster proved to be the ideal training ground for youth and young adults exiting the streets. Amidst the boom of craft coffee shops in downtown Denver and increased operating costs, good business sense led us to close the brick and mortar shop on Welton in May of 2019 to put all of our focus on roasting excellent coffee.

Purple Door Coffee serves youth and young adults in the Dry Bones community who are working to exit the street life. PDC provides a work program that leads to permanent employment, teaches soft job skills, provides practical experience to build a resume, and helps our friends continue growing healthy relationships. While our friends participate in the program, Dry Bones outreach staff and volunteers continue to journey alongside them. Dry Bones is able to support program employees with wrap-around resource services such as therapy, life formation coaching, housing assistance, and many other vital spiritual, emotional, and physical supports. It’s all a beautiful synthesis.

Purple Door Coffee is a social enterprise of Dry Bones Denver. All operations are overseen by Dry Bones leadership and the Dry Bones Board of Directors.

Purple Door Coffee also serves YOU, the customer! We need YOU to help us reach new wholesale accounts with churches, office spaces, and individual coffee connoisseurs.

Please do the following:
1. Visit the PDC website to keep up to date and learn more.
2.  Follow PDC on Facebook  and Instagram.
3.  Purchase whole beans roasted by PDC for your home, office, or church!  (To learn more about establishing a wholesale account for a church or business, fill out this form.) Tell all your friends.
4.  Please keep PDC in your prayers.