Queer owned coffee cooperative to open in Old Louisville in 2022

by Spencer Jenkins, Executive Director

As most Kentuckians agree, Evangelical Christian backed and/or owned coffee shops pop up constantly around Louisville and the Bluegrass…especially in Louisville. These establishments cause a weary feeling within the LGBTQ+ community because of the homophobic tension in the air and lack of LGBTQ+ literature laying around. The coffee shop choices are limited and the only Queer owned shop (we know of) is Day’s Coffee, which may not be accessible to everyone in Louisville.

Soon, coffee shop choices won’t burden the morals of our community. In addition to Day’s, the cooperative, Old Louisville Coffee Co-op will open serving as a Queer and BIPOC community hub with delicious coffees, teas and pastries. The co-op will be announcing their target opening date and location soon.

One founder of the co-op is Queer Kentucky’s own, Adrian Silbernagel (he/him).

“We noticed that there was a lack of coffee shops and late night sober community spaces in Old Louisville,” he said. “We had a lot of coffee experience between the five of us and a similar vision for what a Queer worker-owned business could look like, and what it could mean to our communities…and we were all just crazy enough to go for it.”

Adrian Silbernagel (left) and America Medious (right)

Other founding members of the coffee shop co-op include America Medious (they/them) and Kristina Diggs (she/her). The other two founding members will be announcing their involvement in the coming days. A co-op can take any number of forms. But in essence it’s a company that is owned and operated by the folks who use its products or services. Old Louisville Coffee Shop is a worker co-op, which means that the business is owned by the people that work there. It benefits workers by giving them democratic control over business decisions, and a share in the profits.

Worker co-ops also benefit the community, because the worker-owners have a stake in the community where they do business (as opposed to businesses that are owned by remote investors.) The members share a fundamental commitment to building up the Old Louisville neighborhood, a fierce dedication to diversity and inclusion, and a deep sense of responsibility to the environment.

The commitment of these members is unbelievable. In the name of sustainability they spent months hunting for supplies and furniture and stalking Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for equipment.

“We dumpster dove and up-cycled,” Silbernagel said. “On New Years Eve I made a spontaneous overnight road trip to Chicago to buy a beautiful La Marzocco espresso machine that a former boba tea shop owner was selling way below market value. The kind hotel receptionist helped me unload the 150 pound machine from my car onto the luggage cart. It spent the night in my room with me, so that the water in the boiler wouldn’t freeze.”

With some members in active sobriety, the co-op will also serve as an event space and a sober community space. One of the biggest perks of the new coffee shop is it’s hours. Closing at 11 p.m. on weekdays and staying open 24 hours on the weekend, giving sober and non-club scene folks a place to create community.

The co-op has also started a Kickstarter to help fund the last dollars needed. You can back their project by going to their Kickstarter page. They’re raising $7,000 for opening costs including starting inventory, minor renovations, paying a muralist, and possibly some second-hand tables.

For more information, contact them at oldloucoop@gmail.com.

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