Serving Those Who Serve

It's not just a coffee shop.

Wes Crespi is in the process of hanging a larger American flag in front of his business. He’s meeting with his friend, a retired fireman named Dave, to discuss the architectural specifics of the 6x8 foot flag. The support of his country and those who serve it is preeminent to Wes, so this detail must be done well.

Wes opened the Coffee Cabin in 2006 as a part of his valiant effort to break away from corporate America. He was a burnt-out hotel manager and finally said to himself, “instead of making Mr. Marriott rich, why don’t I just work for myself?”

The Coffee Cabin serves your typical coffee shop fare, including black coffee, specialty drinks, pastries, and burritos. Wes always has Scooby Snacks on hand for the pups that pass by as well. His signature drink is a nitro cold brew that is made by placing green coffee beans in a whiskey barrel for nine months. The beans absorb the oil and flavor, and the alcohol evaporates once they’re roasted. It looks and tastes similar to a Guinness beer.

Though he believes they have excellent coffee, Wes is adamant that the product isn’t his priority. It’s the people. There’s something sacred about his small drive-thru window. Typically, coffee shop community is built through conversations over a table with steaming mugs in hand. However, Wes envisions his trailer as a front porch type of atmosphere.

“I’m old school,” the sixty-year-old says in a thick New York accent. “Everyone in my neighborhood had a front porch. Everything was done on that front porch, from proposals to parties to having your first beer.”

Wes has made it his goal to know his customers. Our interview is peppered with conversations as guests drive up to order. He asks an older lady about her doctor’s appointment, converses with a teenage girl about her sister’s coffee addiction, and teases a new dad about his scraggly facial hair. Every customer seems reluctant to drive away after receiving their order. They find a way to continue the conversation a little longer with another question, joke, or story.

Wes etches prayer requests from his customers on the wooden frame of the drive-thru window. “This woman was diagnosed with kidney cancer,” Wes says, pointing to a name scribbled in blue ink. “This woman is in remission,” he testifies. The list goes on and on. His friend, who is a pastor, comes in monthly and prays for the list as well.

“I could tell you a million stories that happened through that little window,” Wes says.

There’s a special place in Wes’s heart and business for servicewomen and men. His navy trailer is plastered with patches from police, fire, bomb squad, and medical departments. They range from as close as Douglas county to as farfetched as Miami, Cleveland, and Baltimore. Service workers stop by for a cup of joe and can’t help but offer Wes a piece of their profession. 

“I want our police and military to drive by and know that it’s not the whole world against them. I want to honor their sacrifice,” he says.

His support isn’t just talk. Wes and his wife have held several fundraisers for service members. After the Boulder grocery store shooting, the Coffee Cabin hosted a fundraiser for the family of fallen officer Eric Talley. Customers and the Coffee Cabin raised more than $30,000 in one day for the officer. Wes donated his salary and daily tips for the donation as well. There are countless stories like this, such as how the Crespis rally people together to collect toys at Christmastime for the nearby elementary school. 

“I built this place on consistency and service,” Wes says. “I’m not in here splitting atoms. I just make coffee and treat people the way they want to be treated.”

"I tell people this is my church,” Wes says. “I donate a day’s salary once a month to a local charity, fundraisers are my tithing, my gathering is talking to and praying with people, and my profession that I love the Lord Jesus Christ is all over my property in the form of crosses and a praise sign.”

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