The Den: Bringing a Family-Friendly Coffee Shop to Denver

The Den social lounge & coffee shop in Denver, CO, is more than just a place to grab a cup of coffee. It’s a haven for parents seeking connection, support, and a sense of belonging. As The Den puts it, “The transition into parenthood can be tough.” That’s why Coffeepreneur® Chandler Lipe created a family-friendly social lounge and coffee shop for parents to connect—and kids to play.

The Story Behind This Family-Friendly Coffee Shop

Before becoming a mother, Chandler had a successful career in fashion and beauty. She was traveling to Europe every month and immersing herself in her work. But when she got pregnant with her first child, it came with unexpected complications—leading her to leave her job and wrestle with perinatal depression.

She felt isolated, disconnected, and questioned her identity. Determined to find solace in others, she began talking to fellow parents. She soon realized that the reproductive process is difficult for everyone. “Every [parent] pays a tax,” she says.

The Den's founder, Chandler Lipe.

Inspired by these conversations, she resolved to keep the dialogue going and support parents on their unique journeys.

Chandler became a certified coach and volunteered with a postpartum support organization, answering hotline calls. However, she felt that more impact could be made in person. It was during her second pregnancy that she stumbled upon the term “matrescence,” or the physical and emotional changes that happen to new mothers during and after birth. She recognized the need to make this knowledge more accessible to everyday people.

She built The Den on three pillars:

  1. Connecting parents to resources,
  2. Stimulating curiosity around parenthood and normalizing it with data, and
  3. Creating an aesthetically-pleasing space for both kids and parents.

Many kid-friendly spaces are catered to kids, not parents. The Den caters to both. Chandler used her experience in fashion and beauty to design a place where parents would actually want to spend time. The adults’ section is not an afterthought, but an integral part of the space.

Taking Steps Toward Opening a Coffee Shop

To turn her vision into reality, Chandler crafted a business plan and sought feedback from trusted individuals. She found a broker and a location in Denver’s Lower Highland area. The venue was bigger than she had planned for just a social lounge, but she quickly realized her dream of opening a coffee shop would work well with the space. Plus, the neighborhood was lacking in coffee options.

A mentor at Mango Tree Coffee in Denver, also a Texas Coffee School Coffeepreneur®, suggested Chandler invest in a holistic coffee education at Texas Coffee School. Thus, she came to DFW for the 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class.

With the help of a loan broker Chandler received and an SBA loan. Shortly thereafter, she navigated the complex legal aspects of the commercial lease. Construction and architectural plans were set in motion even before the lease was signed, leading to a six-month build-out period. Finally, in April of 2023, The Den opened its doors to the public.

Take a Tour of The Den

Stepping inside The Den, visitors walk through the coffee shop first—making it easy (and tempting) to grab a coffee on the way in. The social lounge is pay-to-enter, with a membership plan coming soon.

The Den's coffee shop.

Source: The Den Instagram

Inside the social lounge, you’re greeted by work tables with kid spaces underneath, providing a harmonious environment for both productivity and play. A large communal couch encourages connection and relaxation. There are designated areas for crawlers and toys suitable for children aged 0 to 1.5 years, with busy boards adorning the walls. And there’s baby gates at the exits, making it a safe space for kids to wander and parents not to worry.

The Den's social lounge.

Source: The Den Instagram

The Den's play area.

Source: The Den Instagram

Drawing ideas from the Children’s Museum in Denver, The Den also offers activities that cater to children’s interests. You’ll see a dedicated play area for older kids, complete with a market, kitchen, and a wide array of toys. Overlooking this space is a laptop bar, allowing parents to work and watch their children. There’s a classroom that hosts classes and guided crafts. When not in use, the classroom transforms into an open crafting area.

The Den's social lounge.

Source: The Den Instagram

The Den also pays attention to the practical needs of parents. It features a wellness hallway, complete with a zen room and feeding-friendly chairs. Conveniently, baby wipes and diapers are available in the bathrooms.

The aesthetics of the space are intentionally designed to be neutral and beautiful, creating a welcoming environment reminiscent of one’s own living room.

Marketing Through Word-of-Mouth

The Den’s marketing strategy is built on relationships with healthcare providers and word-of-mouth recommendations. Over the course of two years, Chandler has met with more than 80 practitioners, including OBs, midwives, physical therapists, and mental health therapists. In these meetings, she shares her story, gets feedback, and establishes a level of trust. In turn, practitioners are happy to share about The Den’s family-friendly coffee shop with their patients.

And this strategy is working! Since The Den’s soft launch—a Texas Coffee School suggestion—visitors have been driving from 10 minutes to an hour away to visit the space. Many customers find The Den on Instagram. It’s filled a void that many parents have expressed a need for: community with other parents in a cozy, inviting space.

Currently, The Den’s social lounge operates on a drop-in rate system. A membership model will be available soon, further solidifying its role as a community hub.

Chandler Lipe and an influencer for The Den.

What’s on the Coffee Shop Menu?

The Den’s family-friendly coffee shop offers plenty of coffee beverages as well as pastries, burritos, chai drinks, matcha lattes, and grab-and-go sandwiches and snack boxes. And customers aren’t just families visiting the social lounge. Chandler estimates that 40% of their customers are folks coming in for to-go orders and neighborhood residents. But even their childless customers are excited about the space, saying that they’ll tell their sister or mom friend about it.

Staff members at The Den.

Start Your Journey to Coffeepreneurship

Chandler offers a word of encouragement to aspiring entrepreneurs: “It’s really hard—but in a good way.” Her way of doing business is to take action first and figure it out later, which has worked out well for The Den. But it hasn’t been easy. She’s been spread thin as a business owner. And she would like to have more time to sit and chat with staff and visiting parents, making sure everyone feels welcome.

Chandler is learning to trust that the business can eventually thrive without her direct involvement in everything. That means training staff and dialing in operations that can run independently.

Chandler learned how to launch a coffee business at Texas Coffee School, and you can too. Our 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class is designed for folks who want to start a coffee shop but may not know the ins and outs of preparing drinks, buying equipment, or running the operations.

We have plenty of weekend classes available this summer. View the schedule and consider an investment in your coffee education here!

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We’ve helped hundreds of students successfully launch their own coffee shop businesses. Join us in our 5-Star Rated Coffee Classes, whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking to open a coffee shop, a manager, a barista or home enthusiast looking to sharpen your skills.