On Community: A Love Note...to Dovecote
We often talk about striving to engage and build community. This is a perfect aspiration to put at the core of what you do, especially if you're all about being bullish. While it's one thing to aspire to, it's another to genuinely devote your time to ensure this is happening in the best way possible and on multiple levels. And it's definitely another thing when you achieve this after recently making a new city your home.
Yes, this is my love letter to the crew at Dovecote Cafe. These ladies exemplify the meaning of community and bullishness.
Apparently, yesterday was treat yourself Thursday, because I succeeded to make Dovecote my "office" for most of the day. I aim for this every week, and never manage to make it happen. If you follow them on Instagram (oh hey @dovecotecafe!), you completely understand. Their IG game is strong (and how I found out about this magic in the first place!) But it's all about that "in real life" action. Five minutes into your first visit you quickly realize Dovecote embodies everything you'd ever want if you opened not only a neighborhood coffee shop, but a community-focused and driven business. And this is no accident. Their name, Dovecote "is meant to evoke a sense of communal nesting". So clearly, what they do is very on point, in my very expert opinion.
Let's start with owners Aiesha and Cole and the team working there. When you go in for the first time, they will introduce themselves. They will remember you the next time you come in. They will give you a hug. If you're like me, and you stalk them on Instagram before you make your first visit, tell them your IG "handle". Don't be awkward, again like me, and wait until they figure it out from someone else. They pay attention to everyone because they are genuinely interested in making this place feel communal and among friends.
At 10:30am on a Thursday, Dovecote was packed. Again, in my expert opinion, this is not the norm for most coffee shops mid-day, anywhere in the city. Every time I've been there it's packed. And for those of you who are still getting to know the place, Dovecote isn't located in the heart of Fed Hill, Fells Point or Mt. Vernon. It's on Madison Ave, a residential street lined with row houses, just south of Druid Hill park and north of North Ave, in the heart of Reservoir Hill.
People come to Dovecote because they want to be at Dovecote. Everything Dovecote does is deliberate. Let's start with the coffee. The insanely good Cafe Los Suenos isn't roasted in Baltimore by coincidence. There's a story behind every piece of art on the wall. I just need to go back to hear them all. Same with the books, CDs and mugs they sell. All the baked goods are made in house, fresh. And when they run out they run out. Mmmmm date bread and corn bread muffins with melted butter on top. Yes please. (Refer to their inst-food-porn for more details). And now their girl @naturallychefcat is doing lunch. (Note: chicken chili, chicken
ciabatta and mac and cheese...ok I'll continue). Oh, and the locally made juice.
So yes, Dovecote offers a delicious product with excellent service in
a perfect setting. This is now beyond obvious. What stands out most, however, is how well the Dovecote team has engaged and built community. I've seen them at Start Up Soiree, the Innovation Village kickoff, the Baltimore Impact Hub, and thanks to Instagram, I know they are all over this city, generating ideas and making moves. And they know everyone. (This wasn't verified with our resident fact
checker, but I think it's true). And, again not verified with the fact checker, I'm pretty sure they have been been in Baltimore for less than a year, demonstrating that we don't need to be longtime residents to be bullish about this city, we need to be motivated and committed.
In addition to running around and taking care of the usual operations, Aiesha and Cole spend their time getting to really know everyone who comes in. As a result they attract the most bullish individuals in our city...I'm pretty fairly certain this is where ideas comes from that make good things happen.
This crew has way more going on than I even know about (I'm talking to you, @brioxy), and hopefully we'll have more about Dovtecote in the future. I'll end this love letter here and just say thank you.
PS When you make it to Dovecote, let us know about your visit.