By Helen Coronato
The Accidental Cowgirl
Autumn Cook always knew she wanted to own a coffee shop; the only question would be location, location, location. A Washington state native, she spent some times in the Black Hills during college, eventually being drawn to the town of Sundance, Wyoming. As luck – or destiny – would have it, the local coffee shop/video store came up for sale. As more luck (or more destiny) would have it, she managed a similar store in Washington and knew she could run this location. Today, just a few short years later, she is the owner and manager of Wild West Espresso on North 3rd Street and has turned her ambition into a comfortable coffee shop where locals catch up and tourists fuel up.
Relaxed seating, specialty coffee drinks and a varied menu make this the ideal place to enjoy everything from breakfast to break time. When I visited, Autumn’s mom was behind the counter and greeted us all with a warm smile and offered several suggestions from the menu. We ordered Italian sodas, juices and a coffee-n-cream frozen drink that I have not stopped thinking about since I had it. And while the drinks were great, it is the hospitality that stands out. None of the patrons looked rushed, agitated or annoyed. Sunday afternoon seemed like the perfect time for several people to kick back and visit with friends and family. It certainly proved to be the ideal place for us to do just that.
The surrounding town is an eclectic mix of small businesses and well worn sidewalks where patrons can walk in and out of different shops and get to know a little bit about the history of the west from the people who call it home now. When Autumn moved to the Black Hills, she sought out a community to call her own; a place where she could live, work and contribute. A place where she could set up her own shop and turn neighbors into friends. Luckily for us, she chose Sundance, Wyoming to do so.
Helen is a professional writer living in Hulett, Wyoming. When not trying to remember to ask for a sack instead of a "bag" when buying pop (not "soda!"), she and her family are out exploring the Black Hills and busy making the West, home. For more information, visit www.HelenCoronato.com.