This year has been full of challenges and one of the most unique has been how we connect with each other while social distancing and staying safe. For a community to have a sense of place, that feeling of belonging you share as equally with friends as you do with strangers in your favorite downtown locale, there has to be somewhere you can go to connect outside your home or work—especially if your home and work are now the same place! What communities need right now are Third Places. 

We’re celebrating the Third Places nominated in October, and invite you to nominate yours to be highlighted in November! Click this link to nominate your Third Place!

Aroma Coffee Co, Fall City (pictured above)

Owners: Emily Ridout, Kelsey Wilson and Sara Cox

According to nominator Angela Donaldson, “The story of Aroma is very special and the founders love is evident in how their mission will make our community better by creating an opportunity to gather, savor and linger. Despite COVID complications with opening a business, they held strong with faith and sweat and created a vibrant new business in the historic Prescott-Harshman house. Once the spot for the town’s phone company, it is once again the ‘center of town’ that young and old enjoy with ample spacing.”

Connect with this Third Place: 33429 SE Redmond-Fall City Road, Fall City or

How this Third Place anchors community: During COVID, many of our small town businesses closed or temporarily shut down. Aroma brought new energy into Fall City by bringing the community together with regular communication at virtual community meetings on their progress of opening this coffee shop and community gathering place. It gave Fall City residents hope – something to root for and something to believe in. Officially opened on September 11, 2020, on a day remembering the many lives lost 19 years ago, Aroma Coffee Co reminded residents that surviving a crisis is possible and this new business can thrive and inspire a community to rebuild. Down the street from Aroma Coffee Co, a long-forgotten vacant building was purchased and a new facelift is emerging. Together, our small main street in an unincorporated rural town is fresh and alive.

TwispWorks, Twisp

Executive Director: Don Linnertz

Jamie Petitto has big appreciation for her small-town Third Place, saying “Gathering places are only as big as the towns in which they are built, and since I live in a town of less than 1,000 people, finding a place to reliably meet up with an old friend or new client has proven rather daunting. After 10 years of growth and remodeling, TwispWorks has become my ultimate in-town meeting spot: I can grab lunch from the food truck on the front lawn, or grab a post-work draft inside the brand new brewery. Other than the grocery store and post office, I consider TwispWorks the place for me to connect with fellow neighbors, friends, and even visiting passers-by.”

Connect with this Third Place: 502 S. Glover Street, Twisp or

How this Third Place anchors community: While it’s clear that TwispWorks boasts a beautiful 6.4-acre outdoor campus, to me it’s their behind-the-scenes work that makes this place irreplaceable. Let me count the ways:

  1.  TwispWorks created a physical space for 35+ “partners” (manufacturers, artists, non-profits and small businesses) to realize their professional dreams.
  2. TwispWorks established the Methow Investment Network, a program that allows investors to offer a combination of loans and advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, allowing for the launch of dozens of new small businesses.
  3. TwispWorks established Methow Made, a program that highlights and markets local growers and makers who are otherwise too busy to run their own branding presence. This program culminates in the Valley Goods store, which is a brick-and-mortar establishment on the TwispWorks campus that sells Methow Made products.
  4. In response to the pandemic, TwispWorks created the Small Business Emergency Grant, offering $1500 grants to local businesses financially impacted by the effects of COVID-19. To date, they’ve raised over $100k to support 50+ small businesses / non-profits.
  5. TwispWorks continues to brainstorm innovative ways to get the community to gather on campus: live music events at their newly-built outdoor pavilion, a splash-pad in summer for kids, annual art walks, and more.

Caffe Piccolo, Camas

Owner: Jodi Vaughan

Carrie Schulstad showcased how this Third Place makes everyone feel welcome, saying “Caffe Piccolo is a coffee shop space that provides a consistently comfortable and warmly inviting atmosphere that our locals love and visitors are pleasantly surprised by. No one is a stranger here! The Camas Hotel is across the street and visitors frequently mention how accepted they feel when they go there and how they feel as if the staff genuinely wants to get to know them. Many people have decided to move to Camas because of how they were treated when visiting. Creating a sense of belonging and care is top priority to both the owner and the baristas.”

Connect with this Third Place: 400 NE 4th Avenue, Camas or

How this Third Place anchors community: The staff show true community spirit with every First Friday event, getting decked out completely with the theme and promoting on social media. This not only creates a fun atmosphere but also promotes downtown events and shows the camaraderie and spirit of our town. Besides all this, we also like to call Caffe Piccolo the “vortex” of our town. It’s the center of our downtown and things come together here! So many connections and good things happen. Many a business meeting occurs here, important wok done and transformative decisions made. People are warmly welcomed to spend as much time as they like here doing remote work. Local art is displayed and shared here. People see each other, connect with each other and you always know you’ll have amazing coffee! Our town would not be the same without Caffe Piccolo and we are grateful for Caffe Piccolo being such a strong anchor in our town.

Narrative Coffee, Everett

Owner: Maxwell Mooney

Nominator Patrick Hall heaped praise on Narrative Coffee like it was steamed milk and foam on top of a latte. He said, “Nationally known barista competitor Maxwell Mooney was only 26 years old when he opened Narrative Coffee in 2017, and truly put downtown Everett on the coffee map. Narrative isn’t just a café – it’s a destination. chose Narrative as the winner of the 2017 Sprudgie Award for Best New Café, beating out 6 other cafes throughout the world from Dublin to Seoul. In 2019 the shop made Food and Wine Magazine’s Top 100 Best Coffee Shops in America. Mooney is admired not only for bringing upscale coffee culture to Everett, but also for his dedication to his community. He serves on the board of the Downtown Everett Association, and always seeks to mentor and support other entrepreneurs.”

Connect with this Third Place: 2927 Wetmore Avenue, Everett or

How this Third Place anchors community: Because of its fame as a coffee destination, Narrative draws weekend coffee tourists from all over the region. While those tourists may come for the espresso, they also get to discover downtown Everett’s other offerings such as the Funko Store, the Schack Art Center, or one of its many restaurants. Narrative is strategically located in a historic building across the street from the Everett Municipal Building and adjacent to the Snohomish County Courthouse, which is downtown Everett’s largest employer. As a result, a lot of community business is conducted in this café. It’s the kind of place where local residents always run into somebody they know, and it has become a symbol of Everett’s revitalization.

Hailstone Feed Store, Issaquah

Stewards: Downtown Issaquah Association

Nominating a place she knows well, as Board President of the DIA who stewards the space, Christina Bruning says, “The Historic Hailstone Feedstore is a distinctive visual landmark in downtown Issaquah — a quirky, fun, artifact unlike any other. Issaquah boasts plenty of historic buildings on Front Street, but all the others house contemporary businesses. The Feedstore is a special place simply to remember, celebrate and gather as a community.”

Connect with this Third Place: 232 Front Street N., Issaquah or

How this Third Place anchors community: The Hailstone Feed Store has been restored to its classic, historic being. A moment frozen in time. It reminds the locals and visitors of where we have been as we move forward as humanity. It is a go-to spot for downtown concerts, meetings, and the #1 location for videos and photographs. It is renowned for being the backdrop for everything notable that goes on in Issaquah. A memento for our cultural life.