One year ago, Kat Naden bought a small storefront on the corner of 38th street and Cedar Ave and the story of Duck Duck Coffee began. That day, us neighbors were none the wiser – the empty storefront was unchanged. The creative work of running a small coffee shop was yet to be done. In that beautiful moment, Standish-Ericssonians were faced with the looming, romantic, and sometimes daunting idea that comes with a new business in the neighborhood: possibility.
On Halloween last year, Duck Duck Coffee opened its doors to the public. Kat and her team did not waste any time serving high-quality coffee and snacks along with a tall glass of community. It hasn’t even been one year since Duck Duck opened its doors, and they have a ton of community-first events. So many in fact, that I am hard pressed to name them all, even though I work with area small businesses for SENA.
In an age where the phrase “start-up” tends to refer to small groups of tech industry folks more than a new small business on main street, Kat and her team are bringing local business beyond the balance sheet.
They have served as a creative outlet for the community through activities like Duck Duck Draw, where you just get together and draw. (That’s really all. We like this.) Duck Duck Draw even survived the transition to socially-distanced life. Though the store was closed at that time, Kat and friends got on the internet and drew together. (For fun. We like this.)
They have also been vocal supporters of other local businesses. During the pandemic, Duck Duck has shown support for and solidarity with their neighbors at the corner of 38th and Cedar on social media.
The reason that this hits home for me is that this type of work, this business philosophy – though it may be hard to define – is at the core of the value that small businesses provide to their communities. They all, in some way or another, go beyond the conventional business model. In the name of not just their existing community, but of a community that we are all invited to be part of. It goes without saying that this is more prevalent and more necessary now than ever.