From the house roasted coffee beans, to the hip meet up spots and friendly faces behind the counter, The Blue Mug is one of Greeley’s warmest gathering places. Since its founding in 2011, The Blue Mug has cultivated a community that bounds roasting delicious, in-house coffee, but creates a space to gather for all of those looking for a place to call home.
Art and Karla Long, founders of the Blue Mug, opened their first location on 35th Avenue in Greeley in September 2011. Prioritizing authentic leadership, community focused service, and intentional belonging, they hope “that people can come from all over and immediately feel as though they belong.”
Art Long always dreamt of one day owning his own business. One of Art’s first business ventures began when he opened his own bakery in the back of a coffee shop in Florence, Colorado. A few years later, Art bought the coffee shop, began learning the ins and outs of the coffee business, and later learned to roast his own coffee. Since then, Art has dedicated nearly half of his life to roasting and serving up warm coffee.
Though Art and Karla take great pride in their made-in-house coffee, what they prioritize is the community that is fostered in their spaces. Having lived in Greeley for over 20 years, Art and Karla treasure the Greeley community and feel, “Proud and lucky” to be able to “Provide a space where people can gather.”
Art tells a story of a young woman who, having recently moved to Greeley and knowing very few people in the community, goes to the Blue Mug and everyone knows her name. The warmth and belonging that the Blue Mug provides for Greeley residents is untouched. A large part of that warmth comes from the uniquely kind staff that Art and Karla employ. The Long’s prioritize supporting and mentoring their employees, who often are young people with big dreams of their own.
In accordance with the entrepreneurial spirit of the Long family, Art and Karla, along with their daughter and son in law, Janna and Austin Jenkins, are opening a brunch spot and cocktail lounge in the new Bear Paw Business District. For Art and Karla, opening a modern spot for breakfast made with fresh and local ingredients will allow families to bring their children for a weekend breakfast or friends to meet for mimosas. For Austin and Janna, opening a cocktail lounge will create a space for young and old alike to gather in a trendy and hip space like Greeley has never seen. In December 2021, Out of the Blue and After Hours will open to serve all Greeley residents.
Still, the Longs hope to continue to cultivate a warm place to gather with friends and family. Art says, “I really love that we have these places where people can come together.” Just as the Blue Mug has been doing for over a decade in Greeley, Out of the Blue and After Hours will do just the same.