This year, the Pride committee unanimously nominated the Coffee Hag to receive the 2012 Mankato Pridefest dedication. The Coffee Hag has done tremendous work in being an Out and Proud, locally-owned business in the Mankato community for the past 20 years.
A born and raised Mankato community member and coffee hag customer, said she just had a feeling when she walked into the Coffee Hag that she was in a safe-place. She couldn’t describe exactly what prompted that feeling – It may have been the rainbow flag that had been displayed within the shop, or that she recognized other customers and staff that were also lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered. Maybe it was because the Coffee Hag has the nicest staff, or could have been that super delicious Raspberry Hot Chocolate.
Whatever it was, she knew that she could truly be herself while at the Coffee Hag.
For the last 5 years, Jenn Melby has been the fearless owner of the Coffee Hag. She remembers 20 years ago when she was able to do her first musical gig at the shop with a full house. She laughed as she recounted her early days of music at the Hag. She sang 6 songs – all covers – took a break and sang all 6 songs again. And the crowd loved it. She credits that opportunity as the starting point of her musical career and carries that with her when promoting the live music that continues to this day at the shop.
A couple years later she became an employee at the Coffee Hag and fell in love with the vision the previous owners, Patty Ruskey and Lisa Coons, had of the shop. Jenn states that she “wants people to feel good about who they are when they walk in the door.” Truly, the Coffee Hag lives up to that vision.
In 2010, the Coffee Hag received the Pathfinder Business award through Greater Mankato Area Growth. This is an award that is nominated through community members and recognizes businesses that strive for equal treatment, human rights and non-violence in the workplace.
Congratulations to the Coffee Hag! Thank you for making Mankato a safer and better place for the LGBT community.