The temperature in Floyd is still in the low teens, but a cheerful fire is burning in the fireplace at the Cafe Del Sol. This extraordinary coffee shop demonstrates some highly sophisticated business practices in a low-key way.
Some people visit the Cafe because of its excellent coffee and food, but my interest today is in their wireless internet connection.
I am checking email and blogging effortlessly, thanks to their free WiFi connection. I’m not the only one on the internet, because they also offer a computer system with free online access. While I blog, a bearded fellow in a mackinaw and wool cap comes in and logs into Google for an extended search session.
When he leaves, he is replaced by another seeker after truth, who obviously left his truck running while he stopped in for an update on the state of the blogosphere. After a flurry of keystrokes, he grunts his approval, gets up and leaves with a cheery greeting to the owner, Sally Walker.
Sally and her husband Frank have created a colorful and cheerful place for the people of Floyd to congregate and enjoy themselves. Original art by local artists covers the walls. CDs by local musicians are available at the counter. They seem to have done all the right things to make the Cafe a gathering place. We need more places like this, in every small village, for example.
There is an enormous amount of talent here in Floyd, VA. You strike up a conversation with a stranger and find out that they are a well known artist or a photographer with a national reputation. They don’t seem to stand on ceremony and they all seem to have come to Floyd as an antidote to high-pressure life in big cities. Everyone comes eventually to the Cafe Del Sol, 100 feet south of the only traffic light in Floyd.
Floyd is on the cutting edge of small towns. It has fiber optic lines running all over town and a great internet cafe. I hope they can keep this place a secret for a little while longer, so we can afford to move here. We may not have time to dally…