“I’m a designer and an artist, but my wife has the best ideas,” says David Thomason, co-owner of Red Dog Coffee in Manitou Springs. “Always has.”
David is referring to Laura Thomason’s revelation about what to name the coffee shop and how to brand it. At one point, ten people were working on coming up with a name for the coffee shop, but good names are hard to find.
You may already know David and Laura as the owners of Pikes Peak Chocolate & Ice Cream down the street. If you do, you’re probably asking yourself the same question I asked David.
“Why a coffee shop?”
The Thomasons didn’t start out planning to open a coffee shop. They started out by renovating the building that housed a coffee shop and when the owner of that shop got out of the business, they decided to start one up themselves. After all, Manitou needs a place where people can refresh themselves after walking around the town. A coffee shop is an important part of the Manitou experience!
Of course, just as with a home, when one has free rein with a space the temptation to change it is strong. The Thomasons took down a wall. And then they discovered the space needed new electrical wiring. They took down more walls and discovered plumbing needs. If you’ve ever worked on an old house, you know the drill.
The renovation work took a lot longer than expected, which is pretty much how all renovation projects go.
Unlike the old houses I’ve worked on, the Red Dog space had been home to a variety of businesses and the Thomasons uncovered remnants of them… wallpaper, flooring and an old mural.
This is the best part of the story and I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of this mural to show you. An artist (who is still alive, by the way) had created a paper-strip mural for a business called Red Dog’s Bar in the 1950s.
That was it! That was the name! They would call it Red Dog Coffee.
The mural had little dogs in it that were all caricatures of people the artist knew. Unfortunately, it was too old to restore and they had to cover it up again, but it was the inspiration for both the name and the logo.
Since David is a professional designer, he wanted an interesting logo, but couldn’t think of a theme. Laura came to the rescue, suggesting the cat.
“Ever since, we’ve had fun because people approach it differently,” he comments. People ask about it. “Some are diffident, some ask what went wrong and some are confused.”
Confused or not, check out the shop. They carry locally roasted Colorado Coffee Merchants’ coffee, serve food and just added beer & wine. You may not be able to see the mural anymore, but Red Dog is a little piece of Manitou Springs culture and welcoming place to relax.
Note to the FTC: David brought me a lovely coffee mug with the Red Dog logo and some chocolate from Pikes Peak Chocolate & Ice Cream. I cannot say with honesty that this didn’t affect my article about Red Dog Coffee. My opinion is easily swayed by good chocolate.
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