It’s always nice to hear of coffee being somehow at the heart of something positive. Recent months have brought about so many new and wholly reassuring conclusions as to the health benefits of coffee, but it appears that when placed in the right hands, it can also work wonders for the soul.

 

In a somewhat inconspicuous location in a vibrant Denver neighbourhood lies The Purple Door – a coffee shop that’s proud to stand for so much more than just serving great coffee. Tea and coffee are of course on the menu, but it’s the way the place operates and gives back to the local community that’s genuinely heart-warming and uplifting.

 

Hidden on the edge one of Denver's most colorful neighbourhoods, the colour purple is making a name for itself.

 

It's the colour of the front door at The Purple Door coffee shop, a place that does so much more than sell coffee and tea.

 

"The reason they call this place Purple Door Coffee is because back in the day purple ... was for royalty," Jenna Williams explained as she approached her one-year anniversary working at the café.

 

"It had high value, and so whenever you walk through that door, anyone, they should know you have worth, you have value."

 

These are the kinds of concepts that are taken for granted by most, but also represents how and why this place is special – everyone working at The Purple Door Coffee Shop is homeless.

 

"They've given me so many second chances, like, they've taught me what it is to have a real a job," added Jenna – homeless since the age of 15.

 

"It's all about love. We're not just a business, we're not just a coffee shop. We are a family."

 

A frankly brilliant idea that could and perhaps should be rolled out on a wider basis, the shop’s owners take on three young adults at any one time and keep them within their employment for a full year. The idea being that during this time they can earn money, gain experience and rediscover lost confidence in order to move forward to bigger and better things.

 

Mark Smesrud and Madison Chandler opened the café two years ago and could not be prouder of what they’ve achieved to date – and quite rightly so.

 

"Street kids -- it's just such a distinct culture, that they needed something that was very specific to them," said Mark.

 

"I saw a hope that was present there that like had been squashed out so much, but they kind of constantly said 'No. I'm still going to be hopeful.'"

 

Madison spoke of how the pair play such key roles in both nurturing the development of their employees.

 

"It is unique. This is a unique job for sure," she added.

 

"The hardest thing about this job for me has been how to balance pushing someone to become better and being gracious to them when they fail, when to know you're not pushing hard enough or not being gracious enough.”

 

Inspirational stuff and an important lesson in real humanity that many of us could learn from.