If you live in Park City, you already know that the library is a gem — with free entertainment, books, movies and Wi-Fi, it provides the perfect gathering place for the community.
As of March, there’s another great reason to visit the library. Lucky Ones Coffee, a coffee shop that employs and empowers individuals with disabilities, has opened in the lobby.
Described as a “place for everyone,” Lucky Ones Coffee truly lives up to that claim. The spacious and welcoming shop delivers delicious coffee, tasty snacks and a positive atmosphere that makes every customer — and employee — feel at home.
To learn more about this amazing place, I grabbed a coffee with owners Taylor Matkins and Katie Holyfield. Below, they share some of their thoughts about Lucky Ones’ mission, employees, current offerings and plans for the future.
Tell me about your backgrounds. How did you come up with the idea for Lucky Ones?
Katie: Taylor and I met at the National Ability Center (NAC). I was running the adult programs and activities, and ran the COACH internship, a 10-week program that helps individuals with disabilities get on-the-job training at the NAC. I found that a lot of the participants loved working and wanted to get a job after graduating from the program, but there weren’t many opportunities for them.
Taylor: I came here in December 2016 to be a therapeutic recreation intern for the NAC, and fell in love with Park City and never left. Where I went to college in Wilmington, North Carolina, they have a coffee shop similar to this. That’s where I saw how successful a shop like this could be, and what tools they used.
Katie: We saw that model and thought Park City was a perfect place for it. It’s already such a warm and welcoming community that stands behind a lot of the local nonprofits. There’s also the bus system — our crew can get a free ride to and from work that’s reliable and safe.
How has the Park City community responded since you’ve opened?
Taylor: We’ve definitely seen our local customer base grow quite a bit over the last six months. People love coming in and seeing familiar faces. Our cashiers are so warm and welcoming, and people love being treated like family.
Local businesses have used us for catering, and a lot of people are holding business and personal meetings in here. [The space includes bright and comfortable furniture, plenty of tables and an outdoor patio with additional seating.]
You exclusively employ individuals with disabilities. What’s your favorite thing about working with your employees?
Taylor: Our squad is genuine. That’s the best word to describe them. I think of CJ — you could be playing him in a game of corn hole, and beat him, and he is genuinely so happy for you. The interactions are so pure. It’s so refreshing to be around.
Katie: They’re so easy to coach and train. They love being in the community, they love working and they want to be better and learn more.
How have you seen your employees grow in their jobs?
Katie: That’s the most rewarding thing. We’ve seen them gain confidence and skills, and grow socially as well as inside their job. Julianna, for example, is so good at customer service. She’s been working at the Deer Valley concert series for years, and she was given the opportunity to start training on the register this summer.
Taylor: They are ecstatic to be here. One of our employees, Tommy, hates when we give him a day off. He loves to be here. When I tried to give him a day off, he looked at me and said, “Don’t do that.”
What are some of your favorite memories from working at the shop so far?
Katie: A mom from Heber came in with her two young daughters with down syndrome. They sat in here for the better part of a day and hung out with us and our crew. After, the mom sent us a nice message. She told us how heartwarming it was for her. She said, ‘I try not to look into the future that much because it’s overwhelming and scary. But now I can look into the future and see that it’s going to be okay.’
Taylor: For me, it was a boy, a tourist from Georgia, who came in with his family. They had breakfast here, and then came back in the afternoon for a snack. The boy would eat up at the counter so he could talk to our team. The mom was so moved, she started crying. She told us she’d never seen him be so social, and make so many new friends. He didn’t want to leave. It’s cool to see people who aren’t as social otherwise blossom in here because they feel accepted.
You’ve said that one of your goals is to encourage other businesses to hire people with disabilities. Can you tell me more about that?
Katie: Social equity just became a priority in Park City, and some people from the city council just stopped by here on a listening tour. I explain that there are a lot of jobs out there that our employees are completely capable of — that they can take off other people’s plates — like filing, greeting customers, working the front desk, maintenance work. It’s just about getting them out in the community, and getting a paycheck.
It’s been cool to see that given the opportunity to work more, they will. They have the passion, the commitment and they want to be here.
Tell us about your coffee and food offerings.
Katie: We use Hugo Coffee Roasters. Claudia McMillan has been an amazing mentor, and helped ensure that our coffee is really high-quality.
We bring in all our pastries from a local baker, Bite Me Pastries, and they’re all wonderful. We get our donuts from Dunford Bakers, which has a cult following. We carry Jafflz, toasted “pocket” sandwiches, for breakfast and lunch options. We also have lots of easy, quick, cheap snack options: string cheese, applesauce, pretzels, hummus and yogurts.
Now, we’re looking into more lunch options. We put in a proposal to cook lunch at the Christian Center — soups, avocado toast — and bring them over here.
You hosted some events over the summer, like yoga on the patio and live music in the afternoons. What are your plans for the winter season?
Katie: We’re planning to do Speed Trivia with Friends of the Library. Maybe doing a snowman or snow sculpture contest in the park.
Taylor: We’re also talking to Jill, of the Paint Mixer, about bringing her mobile paint studio by for some events.