20 under 40: Stephany Traylor creates space to bring people together
To Stephany Traylor, the little things can make a big difference — even just a cup of coffee.
Traylor, owner of Dusky Grouse Coffee, has made it her mission to create spaces to better mental health and foster community in ways big and small.
The 39-year-old moved to Steamboat 12 years ago, originally working in the winter sports gear business. After being a stay-at-home mom for several years, during the pandemic, Traylor decided to open the shop.
“The idea of starting another business began during COVID,” Traylor explained. She felt “I need to do something, I need to be a part of something bigger.”
She said that while the business began as just an alternative coffee option for residents, her ideas continued to grow.
“I ended up pivoting quite a bit,” Traylor said. “What really makes me tick is being a part of and really supporting the community needs.”
“It’s funny how it’s naturally kind of turned in that direction, and this place has taken on so many different levels of support for Steamboat,” she added.
Dusky Grouse hosts mental health book clubs at the shop, where participants can discuss their struggles and empathize with one another, Traylor explained.
What: 2022 20 Under 40 Celebration
When: 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 1
Where: Snow Bowl Steamboat, 2090 Snow Bowl Plaza
The shop also holds a weekly LGBTQ+ coffee hour, curates playlists of the employees favorite songs to create community through music, uses the space for support groups for restaurant workers and also hosts a weekly running club.
“The space is, at its roots, customers coming in to grab a cup of coffee. It seems so simple, but that small interaction … can have a huge impact on both baristas, my employees mental health and also our customers too,” Traylor said.
All these different facets have one common thread, Traylor explained: they all go back to mental health and bringing people together.
The coffee shop is also a sober space, Traylor said, because it can be difficult to find community in Steamboat without a focus on alcohol.
“The moment I opened my doors and committed to being sober, it was just a very pivotal time in my life, and my mental health was at risk as well,” Traylor said. “Opening the space, having connections with people, talking about music, talking about sobriety — these conversations are so huge for me.”
Traylor also organizes Steamboat Little Givers, a group which facilitates kids to do acts of kindness and philanthropy each month.
“These are very small projects, like write a thank you card to a restaurant worker, or we had Kindness Week a couple weeks ago where every day they did something like a little random act of kindness,” she said. “Just little things to get conversations going with your kids, and then also just getting them to just feel and normalize the act of giving.”
Traylor believes that in a place like Steamboat, “a little effort goes a long way.”
“Whether you’re talking politically, mental health or whatever, if you are passionate about something, one person can make a huge difference,” she said.
To reach Katy Pickens, call 970-871-4208 or email her at kpickens@SteamboatPilot.com
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