I was staying at a airbnb in a small town just outside of Cincinnati. Work commitments kept me busy most of the day during the week and during the evening I would walk or bike around town taking in the sights. Early one morning I walked up to a coffee shop and was surprised by how many people were there so early. I was greeted immediately and asked if I was visiting and what brought me to town.
What brought me back to Ludlow Coffee for the next 3 mornings was the hospitality and connection that fills the place. James greets everyone by name or quickly learns your name. Conversations are going on in the line and across tables. I learned about the town, the upcoming festival, and news of the residents who make this a daily stop. A woman told me about her job and that she starts her day here because she knows she’ll connect with others and probably have a good laugh.
On my last day there I knew many who came in and they knew it was my last day there. They wished me well and I knew I would miss this place. Perhaps all coffee shops in small towns are like this but it seems that James and others provided lessons in what the US Surgeon General described in his recent report on loneliness as “creating a culture of connection.”