SS# 63: The Spice of Life, Manitou Springs

“Variety is the spice of life.”

This phrase once graced every business card and label Michael and Doug owned. It is the inspiration for their business, the
Spice Of Life, an ingredients emporium.

Michael and Doug live their vision. In the early 90’s they opted to leave the corporate world behind in order to open up a small coffee, tea and spice shop. It was in a tiny 6’x8’ room located in the (then) dilapidated Spa Building in Manitou Springs. That was where we discovered them, nestled between tourist bric-a-brac shops and a pet store.

They carried premium spices and herbs during a time when cooking was not that trendy. They had a large variety of flavored coffees, hot cocoa, and exotic teas. There was an odd mix of prepared sauces and mixes. Michael combined his heritage with his business sense in order to provide unique items such as Grandma Lela’s (dry) Salsa Mix. They were ahead of their time: Starbucks had not reached the Rockies yet. These were the days of “free samples!” in order to build a customer base.

Doug continued to work during those early years in order to cover the mortgage and bills for their home. It was a strain on them and at times a hardship; their personal relationship only grew stronger.

The Spice of Life eventually brought in enough profits to relocate to a more ideal location, set off the main street by a charming walkway. Michael and Doug expanded their offering of goods, adding more variety. They began dreaming larger as business increased, eventually taking a leap of faith and moving into a space large enough to offer a full deli (including breakfast, lunch and dinner) with seating for patrons.

The new location was a risk and a major expense but many friends and family members helped them along. People volunteered to paint murals on the ceiling. Others came in tp build wooden shelves to house all the jars, bottles and bags. Michael and Doug have beautiful wooden hanging signs handcrafted by talented individuals in the area.

There is a steady clientele that comes in for “their usual” each day. Coffee always flows, as does mirth. No one is an outsider in the Spice of Life; newcomers are frequently invited to sit with the regs.

In the background – their personal lives – Michael and Doug have also found success. They perhaps suffer from a touch of “Old Married Couple Syndrome”, although they are not legally permitted to marry yet. They have raised a son, Zack, together and I am delighted to say that I have watched him grow from a babe into a charming young man. Doug no longer works an outside job to help support them. They are active in the Court, in PFLAG and in the community of Manitou.

Variety is indeed the spice of life, however success is doing what you love and loving what you do. To Michael and Doug, success is achieved by living a dream.

To visit the Spice of Life
727 Manitou Avenue
Manitou Springs, CO 80929
(719) 685-5284
Spice Of Life

Gift Baskets Available worldwide

More spicy posts can be found at: Sunday Scribblings: #63 - Spicy

9 responded with...:

gautami tripathy said...

Thanks for this informative post.

Liza on Maui said...

"variety is the spice of life" - I like that!

paris parfait said...

What a wonderful success story! Your friends have made their dream real. Bravo!

JHS said...

What a wonderful tribute to a couple of gentlemen who sound like folks I would enjoy knowing! Wish I lived closer to them so that I could visit! I'm sure that they appreciate your support and enthusiasm for their venture. Well done.

nonizamboni said...

Very interesting post...I'm always interested in how others follow their dream and Michael & Doug have certainly been successful in their business and personal life. What an inspiration.
Thanks for sharing!

nonizamboni said...

Very interesting post. . .I'm always taken by folks who really follow their dreams. Looks as though Michael & Doug have certainly been successful in their business and personal lives. What an inspiration.
Thanks for sharing!

Rob Kistner said...

Autrice -

I think Michael & Doug owe you commission, or at least a finder's fee... ;)

Thanks for the info. I guess they are the 'masters of spices'...

Sorry... just watched a rented movie last night entitled "Mistress of Spices"

lisrobbe said...

Great Post! Inspiration at it's best. I'd have to agree that variety in life and living your dreams is spicy!

Daily Panic said...

Having a spice shop is on my list of things to do before I die-
terrific story- maybe one day it will be mine too!