When Noah and I dreamed of moving out of Seattle and into the mountains, I admit, we had some pretty idealistic versions of what it would be: we’d have more time, it’d be restful, lots of like-minded, young people are moving there. Ultimately, we chose Leavenworth to live and open a business in because of its seemingly ideal circumstances: proximity to the mountains + outdoor activities paired with a strong (tourist-driven) economy.
The reality of tourism has been a shock to us. It is a very different economy than a city's day to day operations.
To start, there is a different rhythm. You have an influx and outflow of people throughout the year. There are highs and lows. Yes, you always have your locals but I'll get to that later. The tourists come in, flood the town and leave. All of the businesses try to sell as much as possible while they are here. Then, they leave and the town is quiet. There is a high in the summer, drops off in the fall but weekends are still good until December when everything is crazy again and January starts well to drop off into the dead of winter and you wait that out until summer starts to pick up again.
From this flow comes a change in how locals treat the town. We have noticed that locals stay away during the frenzy times. Noah and I even participate in this behavior- not even going to the grocery store unless we must.
The reality of the population in Leavenworth is that it is small yet diverse (in generation + philosophy).
Yes, there are young, adventurous people (like ourselves) but there are also young families, older families, retired couples, people who have lived here their whole lives, people who work here and live in Wenatchee or Cashmere, people who have summer homes, students, artists, rednecks, hippies... There is a small number of many different kinds of people who find themselves in Leavenworth. It is important to engage them all.
The reality of owning a business here is the dilemma of how to provide a service to all locals and how to do it year-round, while staying true to yourself.
When the culmination of these realities sunk in, we began to question our move and decision to open a business here. We were idealistic in thinking we would walk in, open an espresso bar and expect everyone to stop their routines and come to us. Fear started to creep in and the question loomed, "should we have done this?"
The other day I was on Pinterest and saw someone had posted a quote: "Remember why you started." I haven't been able to get it out of my head. "Remember why you started." We moved to Leavenworth because we needed the mountains, we needed fresh air. We needed to wake up in the morning and be in a beautiful place. We needed refreshment. We started Argonaut because we believe in good coffee. No, we believe in great coffee and not sacrificing that. We started Argonaut because we wanted to bring great espresso to the people who live and play here and believe you don't have to sacrifice that in order to be in a beautiful place. We started from our idealistic convictions because we don't want to let them go. But in order to be here, we have to be broader. We have to provide something that people are not getting already.
Right now, I am thinking about what it is others don't want to sacrifice to live here. What brought you to Leavenworth? And, what do you miss from where you came? If you've always lived here, what would you like to see here?
Let's have it all, Leavenworth! Let's make it happen. Let’s raise the bar for quality product, quality service at a fair price. How can we at Argonaut better serve you? What are the things you want to see happen in this town? Let’s work together and remember why we started.