Carbondale coffee house creates community |

Carbondale coffee house creates community

Evan Zislis
Life. Simplified.

Looking for a creative challenge, I recently approached Bonfire Coffee owner Charlie Chacos about writing some copy for his Main Street coffee house in Carbondale. My affinity for Bonfire Coffee started more than three years ago during the infancy of my professional practice. It is where Intentional Solutions was born and has come to thrive.

It being the literal and social nucleus of Carbondale’s downtown core, I and countless other enterprises attribute much of our cumulative success to Bonfire’s unique combination of hospitality, nourishment and public attraction. By and large, Bonfire Coffee entices. I’ve discovered that what draws us here day after day is what makes Bonfire exceptional. To truly understand it, I looked deeper for greater perspective. What I found is worth sharing.

For as long as people have walked this earth, we have used fire as a fundamental source of life. Lit by hypnotic flame and dancing spark, drawing on fire’s warmth and tantalizing glow, our ancestral kin have gathered to share individual and collective resources. Under vast heavens, we’ve banded together beside great fires to dream, innovate and construct the worlds’ great civilizations. It was really only a matter of time before an absolutely exquisite cup of coffee entered into the equation.

Touted as the most widely consumed beverage in the world, coffee is arguably one of the most enduring human rituals of all time. Today, coffee imports to the United States account for a third of the world’s coffee production, translating into a $4 billion industry spread among 100 million habitual coffee drinkers consuming 450 million daily cups of coffee and 150 billion cups every year. With 30 million Americans favoring specialty coffees (lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, etc.), we collectively spend more than $18 million a year for the single most antioxidant-rich, caffeinated substance on the planet.

But because it’s not enough just to enjoy, we must become snobs about what we love. Fine wine. Classic automobiles. Destination resorts. Sports teams. Haute cuisine. Dog breeds. Craft coffee. Earlier this year, Bonfire Coffee’s master roaster, Jeff Hollenbaugh, was on the winning team at the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s 14th annual Roasters Guild in Portland, Oregon. Winning first place on a national stage has put small-town Bonfire Coffee on the craft-coffee map, but for us locals, Bonfire Coffee is more than just a place to grab an unquestionably perfect cup of joe.

In the past three years that it’s taken me to design and develop my consulting practice, I’ve seen Chacos take young hospitality professionals to the height of what I consider to be some of the best customer service I have seen — anywhere. These guys and gals know everyone’s name, what they want and how they want it — often before we can even order. With a deep appreciation of what it takes to deliver a consistently phenomenal product, and a daily commitment to serving it up with authentic hospitality, Bonfire Coffee has captured the love and support of loyal patrons near and far.

Above and beyond the casually superb service, is the electricity in the air that has captured my imagination. Every teeming counter, tabletop and lounge chair is abuzz with the productive vitality, collaboration and energy of an entire community. This is not just a meeting place; it is the very heart of the Roaring Fork Valley’s unique blend of commerce, innovation and creativity. Steeped in a laid-back flavor all our own, Carbondale’s flip-flop mountain vibe burns bright in one of the hottest coffee houses in the land. Bonfire Coffee, roasting the freshest beans to make the finest craft coffee — in the epicenter of one of Outdoor magazine’s “2013 Best Towns Ever.” At least you’ll know where to find me.

Evan Zislis is founder and principal consultant of, delivering hands-on strategies consulting for households, businesses, nonprofits, students and life transitions. For more information about simplifying your stuff and organizing your life, call 970-366-2532 or email