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Historic Colorado Springs coffee shop pours its last cup

December 31, 2017 Updated: January 2, 2018 at 8:42 pm
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Agia Sophia opened their doors in May of 2006 as a non-profit. When it started it was in large part staffed by a group of volunteers, which was the business model. Over the years, volunteer help dwindled. Keeping up with the demands of a food service business has put a strain on the Kennedy family and their other business endeavors. As a result on Saturday December 30, 2017, the coffee shop had its last day of business. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).

After 12 years and numerous Best of the Springs awards, Old Colorado City's Agia Sophia coffee shop served its last cappuccino and pressed panini.

The Colorado Springs coffee shop, which closed Saturday, was a not-for-profit that relied on volunteers. Owners Kristin and Matt Kennedy explained that declining numbers of volunteers put a strain on the owners and their for-profit businesses in the same building.

The closure is emotional for Kristin and her husband.

Agia Sophia opened their doors in May of 2006 as a non-profit. When it started it was in large part staffed by a group of volunteers, which was the business model. Over the years, volunteer help dwindled. Keeping up with the demands of a food service business has put a strain on the Kennedy family and their other business endeavors. As a result on Saturday December 30, 2017, the coffee shop had its last day of business. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).  

"It is humbling to hear your stories of how Agia Sophia touched lives, and we know God's grace has been present throughout," wrote owners Kristin and Matt Kennedy in a Facebook post.

Those stories tell of writers who finished manuscripts, couples who got engaged, even one that tied the knot.

Sitting beneath paintings of religious icons, others explored their faith through a variety of Bible study groups and the shop's extensive library of church history, philosophy and religion texts.

For most, though, the shop simply was a tranquil retreat.

Terzea Ekholm, who went to Agia Sophia to write, said the atmosphere was what made the space unique.

Agia Sophia opened their doors in May of 2006 as a non-profit. When it started it was in large part staffed by a group of volunteers, which was the business model. Over the years, volunteer help dwindled. Keeping up with the demands of a food service business has put a strain on the Kennedy family and their other business endeavors. As a result on Saturday December 30, 2017, the coffee shop had its last day of business. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).  

"It's quiet and intimate here, even if there are a lot of people or music playing," she said. "It feels private and calm, which I really have loved.

"It's sad to see it close."

For the Kennedys, the closure is bittersweet.

"We have loved doing it and being a part of the community that it has built, and that many people got experiences that matter most to them," Kristin said. "But it is a relief from the pressures that started to build recently."

The community history spans well beyond the Kennedys' tenure in the building. Erected in 1888, the building once served as Old Colorado City's city hall and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Romanesque-style building later served as a school, hotel and bottling plant. History Colorado - a state-funded historical society - calls it "a local visual landmark."

It's only fitting that a coffee shop that built and embraced such a loyal community would operate in that space.

Kristin and Matt plan to expand their for-profit businesses - Daisy in a Bottle Boutique and Legacy Image Design - into the newly vacant spaces. They also are considering renting the upstairs as a special event and co-working spaces.

But even as the C.S. Lewis novels come off the shelves and the menu is removed from the wall, the coffee shop will forever be embedded into the rich history of the building.

"It's nice to know that it won't be forgotten," Kristin said. "We have left a legacy in Colorado Springs."

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