Monthly meetings focus on city's positive aspects

Organizers say the coffee meetings are intended to spread the word about positive things happening in the community

Leigh Black Irvin
Jamie Church, left, talks with Kathy Price and Melanie Rotert on Wednesday at 302 Espresso in Farmington during the "Welcome to Farmington Coffee."

FARMINGTON — Newcomers to Farmington may have a difficult time meeting new people and learning about community events, but a monthly "Welcome to Farmington Coffee" gathering attempts to make things easier.

The gatherings are part of an initiative of the Farmington Branding Alliance Live Team, which is headed by Jamie Church.

"The city of Farmington hired a consultant, and he held brainstorming sessions, asking the community what they liked about the community and asking for suggestions," Church said. "One of the things identified was that we needed to welcome new people to the area. These coffees focus on the positive things about living in our community, and the coffee is free."

Most of the coffee meetings — which have been taking place since the summer — are held at 302 Main Espresso. During the summer, the meetings take place at other sites, such as the Farmington Museum and Piñon Hills Golf Course.  Special coffee meetings are occasionally dedicated to specific groups, such as an appreciation coffee for first responders and another one for teachers.

"We try to welcome new people, but the coffees are also for those who've lived here a while but maybe don't feel like they've really connected to others in the area," Church said.

Church said representatives from local nonprofit groups often attend the meeting and discuss volunteer opportunities.

Jamie Church, left, talks to those gathered for the "Welcome to Farmington Coffee" on Wednesday at 302 Espresso in Farmington. Church is the head of the Farmington Branding Alliance Live Team.

Several long-time residents attended today's coffee, as well as newcomer Melanie Rotert, who moved here from Longview, Texas, in October with her husband, who works with the Navajo Mine.

"Although I love it here, where I lived before, there were people everywhere," Rotert said. "The feeling of isolation here is weird, so it's good to be able to come here to meet people and feel connected."

Church agreed moving to Farmington can be a tough adjustment for some.

"Spouses often don't like it when they move here. If we can get those spouses involved, it helps them to like the community better," she said. "Also, employers who have a new employee can get out of the office and bring them here, and it's also good for those who are new to retirement and are looking to make new connections."

At today's coffee, attendees talked about upcoming events.

Farmington Chamber of Commerce President Audra Winters talked about a Stay Well Farmington health fair on Saturday at the Civic Center. Farmington Police Department spokeswoman Georgette Allen told the group about a Coffee with a Cop event on Feb. 11 at the McDonald's at 1608 W. Main St.

Overall, Church said, the purpose of the monthly gatherings is to focus on the good aspects of Farmington.

"Yes, there are problems, but we live here, and we need to focus on the positive," she said. "There's so much to do here and so many good things happening."

The next gathering will take place next month, but the date has not yet been set. The next Farmington Branding Alliance meeting will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park, 3041 E. Main St.

For more information on coffee gatherings, visit the "Welcome to Farmington Coffee" Facebook page or the Jolt Your Journey Facebook page. Residents can also contact Tonya Stinson with the Farmington Convention and Visitor's Bureau at 505-326-7602.

Leigh Black Irvin is the business editor for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4621.