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Longmont Local: The pandemic took everything, now new store focuses on helping others rebuild

"We were in the same boat, we're trying to seek other individuals looking to recover through community."
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Shane Stinn, Molly Reed and Isaac Olson stand infront of the soon-to-be MECO Coffee Collective at 627 Main St. in Longmont on July 16. Photo by Ali Mai | ali.mai.journo@gmail.com

Isaac Olson and Shane Stinn lost their main source of income during the pandemic. Now the Longmont couple is setting up a Main Street coffee and retail space featuring local vendors and artists, with a goal to support other businesses in recovery.

The MECO Coffee Collective will open in early August — Olson and Stinn are eyeing either Aug. 1 or Aug. 7 — at 627 Main Street. The store will be filled with an eclectic range of gifts and snacks from Colorado creators including hot sauces, hats, bags, candies and other “what-have-you’s.”

“It's gonna be really eclectic but all underneath one roof,” Olson said. “Our concept with the collective piece was when we were thinking about the holidays — like if we wanted to go shop for our families, and buy 100% local, and find something for everybody in our family — We want to be that store.”

The industrial kitchen hidden from customer viewing will be where Olson bakes the MECO Cheddar Crackers, a snack brand the couple has operated since2019 that will also be on shelves. Freshly-made breakfast pastries will be baked in-house by MECO’s lead pastry chef Molly Reed.

Those sweets will be available at the coffee stand where Stinn manages the front-of-house and barista — a full espresso bar using beans from the Longmont-based Nimbus Coffee Roasters. Customers will have a small seating area near the front of the store next to a fireplace but will be encouraged to peruse the inventory of local goods.

Though the collective part will take up the majority of the customer space in the 3,000 square-foot unit, Stinn wanted to add a cafe element. With a background in coffee, he always enjoyed the relaxing and open vibe of a coffee house.

“I wanted to bring that into this, even though it's going to be a retail space. I want that vibe of you can come in, you can hang out. Be here as long as you want,” Stinn said.

The MECO name comes from the couple’s home states Olson being from Maine and Stinn growing up in Colorado. They met in Longmont in 2017, going into business together the next year with their panini and pasta food truck Monzu. While operating the food truck, Olson came up with the recipe for the MECO Cheddar Crackers. The cheesy snack took off and spun into its own operation.

Before conceptualizing the soon-to-open MECO Coffee Collective, Olson and Stinn were looking into opening a brick and mortar for their restaurant business while keeping the Monzu food truck early 2020.

Those plans were halted when the different establishments — which Monzu served — temporarily shuttered in March last year due to COVID restrictions. Olson and Stinn liquidated the truck. Throughout the pandemic, they worked full-time jobs, all while keeping the MECO Cheddar Crackers business alive.

Now that Olson and Stinn are in the position to open up a store, they want to support Longmont’s community. They hope that offering a retail space to vendors and artists will aid others who experienced a financial downturn.

“We would really just love to see growth after such a hardship of the past year and a half of individuals that have just took such a big hit,” Olson said. “Because we were in the same boat, we're trying to seek other individuals looking to recover through community.”

Olson and Stinn are looking for more Colorado-based artists and small businesses to stock the MECO Coffee Collective shelves. Interested parties can email isaac@mecolongmont.com