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Inspiring Conversations with Mailie Medina of Kataluma Chai

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mailie Medina.

Hi Mailie, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I moved to Colorado from my hometown in Idaho in July of 2010 and I began working at Kataluma Chai as a university student a couple of months later. I quickly fell in love with the customers as well as the service industry and became the manager. I was able to purchase Kataluma Chai in 2015 and opened our second location in Broomfield in 2019. We now have our Broomfield and Lakewood locations as well as an online store.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I laugh as I say, it has not been a smooth road, but it has been a rewarding one. I purchased Kataluma in 2015 and about a year and a half later I had to move spaces within the mall which meant a complete remodel of a new space. We moved over and got settled just in time for the Lakewood hail storm in May 2017 where we had a complete and total loss of everything inside the shop. Thankfully, we were able to remodel and reopen in November 2017. In 2020 of course covid happened which was difficult on so many small businesses, but we made it through because of our amazing customers and their support. In July 2021, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and am currently healthy and in remission. I was out a lot for treatment and because of help from my family and staff was able to keep the shops open. I have learned so much about business along the way, but more importantly, have seen and experienced loyalty and community. Life is what you make it, no more no less and though there have been some struggles along the way I wouldn’t change it because it has made me and my business into what we are today.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Kataluma Chai?
Kataluma Chai is a locally owned chai cafe. We specialize in our own mix of chai and we also serve coffee, espresso, bagels and pastries. We have hundreds of flavors of chai which are typically a little on the sweeter side, but we carry many other local options to provide choices for everyone. We strive to support other local businesses as much as possible. The thing we are most proud of is the community we are a part of. Our store in Lakewood has customers that have been coming to our shop every morning Monday-Saturday since before I even started working there in 2010. We have an amazing community of people who we look forward to seeing and keeping up with their lives and stories.

We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
I play lots and lots of volleyball.

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