The Station is a beacon of culture and community for many folks across Seattle, particularly in the Beacon Hill neighborhood. Husband and wife owners Luis and Leona Rodriguez have cultivated a safe and welcoming space, particularly for black and brown folks in Seattle, alongside excellent coffee and yummy treats. “Coffee is now mostly owned by white folks,” says Luis. “It’s the epitome of appropriation, because it’s a tradition that comes from black and brown folks and the beans are cultivated by Africans and Latin Americans. So we’re reclaiming what belongs to us.”
The spirit of reclamation – of coffee, of art, of space, and of a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood – is palpable at The Station. “There aren’t enough black and brown spaces in Seattle,” Luis says. “I felt a responsibility to create that and send the message that there are spaces like this.” The Station was Luis’ dream, though Leona has come to love the business more than she ever imagined.
Luis also started the nearby Java Love, now Baja Bistro, with his brother when he was 17, and has fond memories of drinking cafe con leche with his father as a child. Leona, who previously worked in a law office, admits The Station has helped her come out of shell and meet more people in her community. “I have an extended family now,” she says. “For me, everything reverts back to my kids, and creating a space where my kids are safe, and their friends and their friends’ parents are safe. That’s what community means to me.”
Luis and Leona are always looking for ways to support and lift up their community. They maintain The Station as a safe space for those who have nowhere to go. “We’re not going to kick you out if you don’t have any money,” says Leona. “We ask everyone to be respectful of our space, but anyone can use our bathroom or come in to get out of the rain.” They also have a Community Card for folks with more privilege to pay it forward, and they host events like their annual Block Party that lifts up local POC and queer artists. “It’s a deliberately black and brown party,” Luis says. “We wanted to create a venue for people who are not given the stage or the microphone to be heard and celebrated.” Luis and Leona are most proud of maintaining this spirit of cultural pride and celebration, while also creating good jobs in their community.
Thanks for all you do to #SpendLikeItMatters – shop small, buy local, and #BeIntentional! Discover awesome brick + mortar small businesses in your community, suggest your favorites, and be sure that you’re following us on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter).
Intentionalist is your local guide to small businesses and the diverse people behind them. We believe that where you spend your money matters, and we’re sure glad you do too! Whether you identify as a localist, activist, or just a good neighbor, we make it easy for you to connect with, learn about, and support small businesses in your community through everyday decisions about where you eat, drink, and shop.