La Vita Bella has been a Longmont staple for over a decade. On June 24, the local establishment will close its doors to make room for something new.
Todd Eichorn, steward of La Vita Bella for over 10 years, began the business as a small coffee shop on the corner of Main Street and Fifth Avenue. Several years later, Eichorn purchased the neighboring building, established a co-working space upstairs and moved the coffee shop to the downstairs area at 471 Main Street.
The space began as a European-inspired coffee bar that served a mix of coffee and alcoholic beverages. Over the years, Eichorn used the small kitchen to add a limited menu of sandwiches and snack foods.
Most important to Eichorn was making the space a place for the community. On Sundays, La Vita Bella opened its doors to anyone in need of a hot meal and served breakfast — mainly to individuals experiencing homelessness, he said.
During the rest of its open hours, Eichorn and his team brought in music acts and supported the local arts culture.
“I personally love entertainment … You can see it brings people together, it elevates them … They say you don’t feel pain when you listen to music, so if you have hardships, this is a great way to forget about your troubles,” Eichorn said.
Since the pandemic, La Vita Bella underwent more changes that Eichorn believes made people feel as though the place had lost its community vibe. The kitchen expanded to allow for finer dining options, sourced from local farms.
While the place had evolved, Eichorn had evolved too. He began noticing that the hours of keeping a business going were taking a toll on his happiness. He decided it was time to choose his family and take a step back from the day-to-day.
“You have to make sure that you’re fresh, energetic, positive and have the time for that. I felt that I would not succeed completely in the way that needed to to make it work. So I have people — existing and coming in — that I’m confident that they can do what this old man maybe can’t do as much,” Eichorn said.
Eichorn will still be around, but taking on a background role as he hands over the reins to a new group.
As of publication, Eichorn was resistant to speaking too much about who would be taking over the space. However, he did say the building will be shut down temporarily for renovations that are expected to be completed by the end of the summer. Also, he said the new owners have committed to making the space more family-friendly and to continuing the community vibe La Vita Bella has grown — just under a new brand.
“The idea is to have an employee collective ownership and having the people who are here working and owning it and turn it over to a younger generation,” Eichorn said. “I see a lot of potential and some of the energy coming back.”