Executive Director & Head Roaster
About Purple Door Coffee
Purple Door Coffee is a specialty espresso bar and coffee shop in Denver, Colorado that employs teens and young adults who have been homeless and want to leave homelessness behind.
To reclaim and sustain the lives of homeless youth and young adults through supportive and meaningful employment.
Purple Door is committed to creating a loving, Jesus centered environment where every single individual is valued no matter what their life has looked like up to this point.
Our name comes from the fact that historically the color purple is the color of royalty, and we truly believe that every person, no matter their station in life, has unsurpassable worth and value and deserves to be treated like royalty.
Purple Door Coffee hopes to be a place of not only employment, but also restoration for those who want to reclaim life.
Meet Our Team
Purple Door has now been up and running since April 15th, 2013, but it has been in the works for a long time. Dry Bones Denver has always been about not reinventing the wheel. They have wanted to be an organization that is about meeting unmet needs for the Street Kids of Denver. As they were ministering among friends, they realized that employment and job training was one of the greatest unmet needs present on the streets. This is so key in helping our friends transition off the streets. Some might be able to get a job, but holding it is very difficult for many. Others are not able to be employed because of mistakes in their past.
Dry Bones started dreaming about a café to employ and train friends that were ready for employment and ready to transition away from street life, because of the transferable skills that working in a café environment provides. They have had this dream since 2007. This effort kept getting delayed until Madison started work on it.
When Madison Chandler started a year long internship with Dry Bones in 2010 the dream resurfaced. She had decided to take on the dream of starting a coffee shop that will employ and train homeless youth seeking to rebuild their lives. As she started efforts she remembered a conversation that she had with Mark Smesrud when they were interns with Dry Bones in the Summer of 2009. They had discussed their love of coffee shops and how it would be incredible to combine work at a coffee shop with ministry among the marginalized–particularly Street Kids. While this conversation was very surface level and short lived, it happened. and we believe it happened for a reason.
Madison contacted Mark about coming to work with Purple Door Coffee a couple of times. He initially said “not now” simply because the timing was never right. Finally, in August of 2011 Madison talked to Mark again about joining the Purple Door Coffee effort and this time Mark had a peace about it. He spent two months praying and seeking if Purple Door was what he was supposed to do and in October of 2011 Mark committed to move to Denver in January of 2012.
Purple Door took huge leaps forward in July of 2011 when Belay Enterprises began to incubate the effort, granting Purple Door Coffee non-profit status and an incredible network of people that know what they are doing in efforts such as this.
Belay is a ministry that partners with area churches to develop businesses to employ and job-train individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness, prison, and/or poverty. They have been around for 17 years and have had an incredible impact in the city of Denver. Purple Door is so blessed to be a part of what they are doing.
The combination of Belay and Dry Bones has been remarkably beneficial to the progress of Purple Door Coffee, and is a great example of partnership in Kingdom work.
As we continue forward we look at how God has been so incredibly present and faithful in the entire process, we know that this will continue. We are excited to be a part of what God is up to in the world, and we know that this is only the beginning of the journey. Join us as we continue expanding the story of Purple Door Coffee.