The Purple Door Coffee shop, celebrated on Yelp for its stellar French espresso and unique house blends, is considered one of Denver’s best—and not just because of the beans.

Here’s the scoop: the shop’s owners, Madison Chandler and Mark Smesrud, opened their “royal” purple doors two years ago with the intention of employing and supporting homeless youth.

“We believe that every human being has incredible value,” says Smesrud in their company video. “And it’s not defined by their successes or failures.”

Once the teens are hired, they are also taught job skills like customer service, financial skills like budgeting, and coping techniques to manage their emotions.


Now in their second year serving fair trade coffee at 2962 Welton St., Chandler and Smesrud continue to learn along with their pupils.

“The hardest part of this job for me has been how to balance pushing someone to become better and being gracious to them when they fail,” Chandler told KUSA-TV in Denver.

Their success in creating a nurturing environment has empowered Purple Door employee Jenna Williams, 23, who had been struggling with homelessness and drug abuse since age 15. Thanks to the experience gained at the coffee shop, she’s been able to secure a full-time job at Starbucks.

“The Purple Door Coffee family gave me a chance no one else would,” Williams told KUSA.. “It’s all about love. We’re not just a business. We’re not just a coffee shop. We are a family.”

We’ll drink to that.

(WATCH the video from Purple Door Coffee below)

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