Blue Owl Coffee shop looks like your typical coffee shop on the outside, but on the inside, it is quickly noticeable that it stands for so much more than just cappuccinos and muffins.
Located in multiple cities in Michigan, the Reo location in Lansing on 1149 S Washington Ave, offers something unique.
“At first, I came here to sing on a Monday night and was nervous, as I was not confident in my musical ability,” said Lyn Sawicki, the 73-year-old regular performer who participates in the Blue Owl’s weekly open mic night. “It is such a wonderful atmosphere, everyone is so encouraging and supportive, I was shocked and refreshed. This shop helped me reconnect with my music.”
Every Monday night, Blue Owl hosts an open mic night from 7:30-9:30 p.m. customers on a first-come, first-serve basis with 15-minute slots per person.
“This shop encourages local artists to come in and sing and do open mic night,” said Heather Ganong, the shift manager at Blue Owl. “We want people to express themselves and enjoy the atmosphere created here.”
The shop claims to be a “community based coffee” shop, and takes multiple measures to achieve its goal of helping the locals. One main goal of the shop is to help support local artists get their talents heard and seen, according to Ganong.
“People can sign up on the website and get to display their art on the walls here and can actually get their work bought,” said Ganong. “I remember one time we did a fundraiser and one of our own was able to raise money to help kids be with their parents in the Dominican, and raised over $5,000.”
Along with helping those in the community, Blue Owl excels in other aspects, such as building relationships with customers.
“This place is different, it has a crazy yet comforting atmosphere, which is not in many other coffee shops,” said Ganong. “A lot of us working here just love and value the relationships we can build here, so we love talking to customers personally.”
The atmosphere of Blue Owl is a reason many customers chose that shop and location.
“I come here roughly four to seven times a week. I practically live here in my off time,” said Cody O’Dell. “A lot of the reason why is the social atmosphere, like the baristas here are awesome people who love conversation. I truly come back here because of the people. This place attracts the right people.”
Sawicki agrees that the ambience is a big part of the shop’s attraction. She calls the shop nice and calming, as well as just a soothing place to come, work and be around people.
“People that come here just have a strong passion for music, art, people —oh and of course coffee,” said Sawicki.
“I have found some of my genuine best friends here because it is so easy to talk to people and get to know all of them,” said Ganong. “I know them and their coffee orders by heart.”
The atmosphere, vibe and community focus leads people to Blue Owl for sure, but they also make some pretty good coffee and tea according to customers.
“My go-to drink is actually a seasonal drink called the ‘Grandma’s Goatmeal” which is actually fantastic and good enough for me to get when it isn’t even in season,” said O’Dell.
The shop offers a variety of drink options on a seasonal menu that usually changes, allowing customers to pick from many different drinks per season, according to Corbin Sickles, barista at Blue Owl.
The Blue Owl coffee shop is not your typical coffee shop, and works hard to stick to its mission statement on its website.
“We are united as a family, anchored in the cause of bringing lasting hope to a world around us through music, coffee or by whatever means possible.”