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Rising Stars: Meet Steve Serchia of Denver’s RiNo Arts District

Today we’d like to introduce you to Steve Serchia. 

Hi Steve, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
I started my barista journey while in college working for larger corporations in California. I quickly fell in love with caffeinating the community I was in, but it wasn’t until I moved to Denver and started working for smaller, family-owned coffee shops that I realized my passion wasn’t just about providing delicious caffeine to the community. It really became more about serving the community and providing VIP hospitality that keeps customers coming back. 

After taking a few months off in 2018 to travel and experience different coffee cultures around the world (specifically Morocco, Portugal, and Spain), I landed in Denver, Colorado. I accepted the position of Café Manager for Rise Café at Enterprise Coworking located in Denver’s RiNo Arts District. I have found my role at Enterprise Coworking to be one in which my passion for the people of my community thrives. 

Managing a café within a large co-working space nestled in the heart of one of Denver’s most popular neighborhoods has given me the chance to fully engage with customers, members, and locals, on a recurring daily basis. I’ve been able to find out exactly what our community wants and needs from their local coffee shop and flexible office space and serve them experiences that are tailored to uplifting and motivating them (depending on what they need that day). 

What’s more, this last summer I was afforded the opportunity to expand my role with Enterprise Coworking and Rise Café to become the first-ever Manager of Hospitality Services. I have since thrived in continuing to establish genuine and meaningful relationships with our members, neighbors, and visitors to both the coworking space and coffee shop. My continual goal is to provide the highest level of hospitality possible. 

I really believe the best part of my role is the relationships I have built and helped foster in my community. People create the culture in any environment, whether positively or negatively, so the best part for me is putting smiles on peoples’ faces as they visit the café or attend an event in the coworking space. I pride myself in providing an atmosphere that people want to be around and want to come back to. This is specifically why my focus is heavily on the experience each patron has and what sets me apart from others in similar roles. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I would love to say that it’s always been a smooth road without struggles, but as with all things in life, there have been some challenges. The two most prevalent of which were the 2008 economic recession and the Covid-19 Pandemic. 

I graduated from University of California San Diego in 2009 with my degree in Political Science and Political Philosophy. The economy was doing poorly to say the least. I applied for multiple barista jobs across San Diego, including coffee shops I had worked at in the past, but nobody was hiring. I could not find work and I was eventually forced to move to Denver and live with my parents while I looked for work. This was a hard time for me. I was disconnected from the community I’d grown to love in San Diego and wondering if I’d be able to get back into the industry I cared so much about. It was incredibly frustrating and at times left me feeling overwhelmed. 

Luckily, I was eventually able to find a position in Denver with Genessee Elinoff at her small local coffee shop. I worked here for five years and learned even more about hospitality and coffee through her while I found my place within the Denver community. 

Then of course, there was the Covid-19 Pandemic. I think the pandemic year was challenging for most, and I am no exception. The Covid-19 Pandemic was a major obstacle for both Rise Café and Enterprise Coworking, but it was also a big obstacle in my personal life as well. Luckily, our coworking space was never fully shut down due to our member companies deemed as essential businesses. So, I was fortunate enough to stay employed during this time, but we did have to shut Rise café down. My focus shifted completely from providing coffee, community, and building relationships, to maintaining the coworking building through various tasks and projects throughout the pandemic, working to constantly adapt to and accommodate our coworking space as new mandates were released by the city and state and later on to preparing the building and environment our community to come back full swing to a safe and healthy space once the pandemic settled down. This was a huge adjustment for me, and I sorely missed my regular coffee goers and ability to connect at this time. 

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
The best part of my role as Manager of Hospitality Services is the relationships I have built with the community. 

That said, on a day-to-day level, I control all daily aspects of managing a functioning and efficient coffee shop. This includes creating tasty beverages and carrying conversations with guests as they come in the café, ordering, and displaying various fresh foods for breakfast and lunch, general cleaning, stocking, and tracking inventory. 

I also work to coordinate with potential clients and members who wish to rent out space, host events, and engage our members within our coworking space. I was promoted to Manager of Hospitality Services at Enterprise Coworking because I care about the people here. As I said above, my goal is to provide positive experiences to all those who come through our doors. In taking on this more expanded role, I am much more able to reach a larger portion of our community and ensure people feel seen, connected, heard, and valued. 

Are there any books, apps, podcasts, or blogs that help you do your best?
I am a bit of a sports fanatic, so I love having conversations with anyone about the current major sporting events going on. When at home I am always listening to ESPN and researching anything and everything about sports. Pardon My Take Podcast by Barstool Sports is a great mix of two things I love: sports and comedy, but for some more insight into sports and some great old-school stories, the Bill Simmons Podcast hits the spot. Sports feed my soul and provide me with endless talking points in a city that hosts all six major professional sporting teams. Let’s go Broncos! 

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