Nonprofit Coffee Shop Fosters Creativity
Lincoln’s newest gathering space, the Pilgrimer, located at 228 North 12th Street, opened in October 2014. Founders Ben Harms and Quinn Small dreamed of a space to support Lincoln’s players, makers and doers. Ben was inspired by the community spaces he’d experienced while living in Seattle. After returning to Lincoln, he realized the city didn’t have a cultural hub for people to gather. Quinn says the Pilgrimer’s mission is to build and support the local community.
“Everyone in life is always working or playing, but work should be more playful and play should be meaningful,” Quinn says. “The Pilgrimer is open to everybody who is doing a little bit of both.”
By day, the Pilgrimer serves locally roasted coffee and tea. It covers the majority of its operating costs through its coffee membership program, which offers unlimited drip or pour-over coffee, tea and soda for $25 per month.
“Our memberships give people a different amount of ownership and a feeling of belonging,” Quinn says.
The Pilgrimer rotates its coffee roasters, but all are locally roasted. Featured roasters include Cultiva, the Beansmith Coffee Roasters and shade-grown blends from the Arbor Day Foundation. The Pilgrimer’s artisan, loose-leaf teas come from the Tea Smith in Omaha.
The Pilgrimer’s retail space is dedicated to local artisans and offers a variety of handmade products, including exotic jewelry, handcrafted soap and screen-printed T-shirts. The Pilgrimer sells without a markup, though many artists choose to donate a portion of their sales back to the space. On First Fridays, the Pilgrimer brings in even more local artists for its Makers’ Market. The Pilgrimer also hosts events, including free weekly yoga classes, lunch and learns and listening parties.
The Pilgrimer is open Monday through Friday from 7am to 5pm. Quinn and Ben are fund-raising to buy equipment to expand the store’s culinary offerings later in the year. Though Quinn is mum on details, he says the food service would be a partnership with another Lincoln restaurant.
—By Alexis Abel
Learn more about the Pilgrimer at ThePilgrimer.com, on Instagram and Twitter @thepilgrimer and on Facebook.