~ by Rick Langenberg ~
The retail and culinary legend of Green Mountain Falls lives on.
Shortly after the coronavirus stay-at-home order was lifted in late spring, the Ute Pass town showcased yet another local business, Tye Dye Java. This is a unique shop specializing in coffee and teas, ice cream and baked good and snacks, not to mention t-shirts, sweaters and an eclectic collection of books and magazines.
Since early summer, the shop has gained many followers from locals, visitors, tourists and even hikers, who may want an enticing goodie before their trek up the falls or afterwards. Plus, the shop’s name has given it a distinct flavor.
“Everything is freshly-made,” said Dakota Griffith, one of the business co-owners and operators. The shop is located, next to the Mucky Duck restaurant in an area formerly occupied by the former Duckie’s business.
Tye Dye Java carries homemade vegan baked goodsch, including muffins, breads and specialties and fresh ground coffees, cappuccinos, specialty coffees and teas and much more. It also serves Anne and Manns homemade ice creams.
“It is a family business,” said Griffith, who is well-known in the community. He has worked for a number of years at the Mucky Duck, sporting a variety of positions, including waiter, chef, host, dishwasher and whatever role is required. In fact, he still works for the Mucky Duck on a part-time basis, and is a familiar face at the restaurant and in the community.
And when Mucky Duck owner Amily Biedelman-Almy wanted to sell the former Duckie’s due to family and restaurant commitments, Dakota Griffith and his family members took her up on her offer. Amily Biedelman-Almy actually owned the coffee shop prior to assuming the reins of the Mucky Duck.
“It just was a great opportunity,” said Griffith. Other members of the Tye Dye Java team include Dakota’s parents, Donna and Jim Griffith and Dakota’s partner, Cody Scoggins. “I have always wanted to own a local business,” said Dakota.
Of course, the coronavirus pandemic delayed their opening somewhat and put a damper on certain plans for special events. But the new shop has made a name for itself.
The one main change the Java operators have made is to make the coffee shop outlet more distinct and independent from the restaurant. In the past, Duckie’s was sometimes associated with the Mucky Duck restaurant.
That’s not the case anymore.
Besides serving as a coffee shop, the Tye Dye Java serves as an ideal community hangout. It is not unusual to see visitors and locals conversing outside the shop at one of the outdoor tables. And if you aren’t into special goodies or specialty coffee, then take a browse inside and tour their diverse blend of tie dye t-shirts, sweaters and books. The shirts are crafted by the shop owners themselves.
The opening of the Tye Dye Java, coupled with the birth of the adjacent Painted Bear gift shop, has given the town a new retail boost, a quality it hasn’t featured in recent years. “It is really kind of neat what is going on in town. We all try to help each other out,” said Dakota Griffith.
Of course, many questions emerge regarding the name, Tye Dye Java. Nope, fret not, throngs of Grateful Dead fans aren’t moving into town and GMF isn’t trying to compete with Manitou Springs when it comes to eclectic flavor.
“It just fits the image of the town and shop,” said Dakota.
Since the business opened, the top picks have been their muffins and Danish selections, along with their cinnamon rolls. And with a rather warm summer, the ice cream choices have become a big hit. The specialty coffees and teas also have become quite popular, bearing names that aren’t lacking in creativity.
And for those who prefer more routine brewed brands, the shop caters to these needs too.
And as part of the culinary tradition of GMF, the Java shop prides itself on quality.
Dakota Griffith emphasizes that all their items, except the ice cream, are freshly-made and often sport special recipes.
A Boost to the Business Community
The Tye Java operators also support the local business community, with their shop serving as a prime stopping point during special events and a greeting spot for visitors during the weekend. The Java owners also support the movement to keep the local hiking trails open, but contend that maybe the parking issues need to be addressed better.
“We get a lot of hikers,” admitted Dakota. “They either come here before they start or come here afterwards to reward themselves with ice cream or a special treat.”
Hiking access and the development of future trails has become a hot topic of conversation around town circles these days. The Tye Java owners favor efforts to support hiking accessibility and responsibility, such as the new trails ambassador program. As for one pet peeve they have, the Java operators are somewhat concerned about motorists speeding through town.
But for the most part, the Tye Dye Java team are big boosters of the Green Mountain Falls lifestyle and experience. “We love it up here,” said Donna Griffith. The family originally came to GMF from Burlington, Colorado.
As for future plans, the Tye Dye Java shop has aspiration to become a year-round operation. They also plan to do more special orders.
Tye Dye Java is currently open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information, call 719-684-2355 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, make sure to check them on Facebook at tyedyejavagmf.