From military life to making mochas, a couple from Colorado moved to Bismarck to give back to the community.
Joe Westerlund and his wife, Gwen, love to serve others and the Hub recovery center in Bismarck is the perfect place for them to do just that.
In July, Joe and Gwen, sold everything and moved to Bismarck to open 321 Coffee. It’s located inside the Hub, which also is the main office for Hope Manor Sober Living and National Sober Living Association.
Gwen is a licensed counselor and Joe a retired military man. Joe retired in August and could no longer travel with his civilian job because of the pandemic. So it made sense to open the coffee shop and help get The Hub up and running.
Gwen says, “I actually have been on the Hope Manor Foundation Board since the beginning and I’ve been coming up here every year for the board meetings and just fell in love with the people here in recovery have wanted to do more.”
Joe says, “I volunteered to be the IT Officer, the janitor, and the barista in our little coffee shop and to operate that for the Hub.”
Gwen explains, “The funny thing is we knew nothing about coffee when we came here, absolutley nothing. we could order a vanilla latte and that was about the best of our skills.”
She says with the help of her younger brother, a coffee aficionado, and Brian Jackson from Mighty Missouri Coffee Company, 321 Coffee is off to a great start. But the best part they say is interacting with those in recovery while at The Hub.
Joe says, “Well we just love them. They’ve become family to us and we care for each of them and it’s really exciting to see the growth and the opportunity that these folks have to start a life new.”
Gwen says, “The energy, the talking, and the laughter. And we were told, laughter is the language of recovery, the sound of recovery. And there’s so much of it here.”
They say they’re not quite ready for retirement on the beach, so laughter and lattes are the perfect mix for the Westerlunds.
If you wanna have a cup o’ joe with Joe, 321 Coffee is open every day from 9:30 am to 9:30 pm. inside “The Hub” at S. 1st and Bowen.