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The Blue Heron Coffeehouse

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
One day, about 14 years ago, Larry and Colleen Wolner decided to give me a job. They had recently purchased one of two coffeehouses in Winona, Minnesota, and were in the process of making it their own. I had worked in that coffeehouse for 2 years, and hoped beyond hope I could stay on staff. They let me, and my life was forever changed.
Larry and Colleen were ahead of the time. They brought so much with them to Winona – amazing baked goods, homemade soups and sandwiches, an organic and sustainable mindset, and a desire to build honest community. They set the bar high for that little town. Coffee should taste strong and deep. Scones should be buttery, creamy, and made every morning. Soup should have fabulous flavor and fresh ingredients. And ingredients should be bought locally, and be organic as much as possible. And people: people mattered.
I was young and didn’t know how to cook. They spent time teaching, encouraging and inspiring me. They provided a safe environment where I learned to cook and bake. I saw their passion and delight in what they did, and fell in love: with them, their family and their food.
So here I am, years later, having my own adventure in the kitchen. But part of my heart is always at the Blue Heron, and I am still learning from the two people who taught me so much, and have become family to me over the years. I have seen them walk a long, hard road; work such long hours and sacrifice so much for their dream. So here is a shout out to hard work! And good food! And beautiful people who have made me a much better person. My glass is raised high, to Larry and Colleen Wolner, and the Blue Heron Coffeehouse.

Do you live in Winona? Or are visiting soon? Eat at the Blue Heron Coffeehouse!
162 West Second Street, Winona Minnesota 55987.

  • Reply
    bethany
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    So beautiful, Sarah.

  • Reply
    *kate
    Friday, August 12, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    This is a great shout out to those beautiful people and their dream come true.

  • Reply
    Show you
    Monday, January 16, 2012 at 5:11 am

    They brought so a great deal with them to Winona – incredible baked goods, home made soups and sandwiches, an natural and sustainable mindset, and also a wish to create truthful community.
    What can we do when we want to find some exciting things to do ? How about the wow online game? We can get the
    Cheap WOW Gold eu through the game and not need to Buy World Of Warcraft Gold for other players and can make friends through the internet!

  • Reply
    Kristin
    Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    I live in Winona and LOVE the Blue Heron, Larry and Colleen!!!! It is a wonderful gem- they are amazing!! Great post!

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 3:17 am

      Thank you Kristin! I love Larry and Colleen so much. I’m so glad you do, too. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    LoriPeterson
    Monday, February 20, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    I worked for Colleen when she managed a coffee shop in Elk River when I was a teenager and never forgot her or her family. She was an ispiration and I am so happy to see that their venture is successful!

  • Reply
    vanilla bean blog
    Friday, March 2, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Hi Lori! That’s so great – I remember hearing stories about that coffeehouse. If you’re ever in Winona you should stop by and say hi to her! 🙂

  • Reply
    The Slow Reading Deep Understanding© Project 2 Meet the 2014 BFBA Winners: Vanilla Bean Blog
    Friday, April 18, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    […] During my college years I worked for two wonderful people, Larry and Colleen Wolner, who own The Blue Heron Coffeehouse. They made (and still make!) the most wonderful food—almost all from scratch, all local, all […]

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