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Coffee cart brews its last buzz today

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
special to the daily
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk
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ARAPAHOE BASIN ” For five years, London Schertzer lived in a one-bedroom cabin in Montezuma with no electricity or running water ” and she did it all for the love of coffee. Paying only $50 a month for rent allowed her to pour money into her espresso bar at Arapahoe Basin.

She began the coffee cart at age 27 and has owned it for nine years. But this Sunday will be the last time her mobile coffee shop creates a buzz at the Basin. Reorganization in management will include a change in atmosphere: managers have asked Schertzer to give up her station. Former mountain manager Jim Gentiling, one of Schertzer’s inspirations and supporters of the coffee cart, has left the Basin to help revamp another ski area.

“We are thankful for London’s great service at Arapahoe Basin and wish her the best in future endeavors,” said Alan Henceroth, A-Basin’s general manager.

Though Schertzer surprised herself by bursting into tears recently when she served one of her regular customers, she’s grateful for the time she had at the Basin.

“It’s inevitable,” Schertzer said. “And the Basin has been awesome. I’m so lucky. I’m the only person that has a business at A-Basin. They’ve given me free reign.”

And she definitely took advantage of her free reign. Not only did she serve organic, high quality coffee, but she also played matchmaker on the side. In fact, she’s responsible for a couple of marriages. “I’m good with personalities,” she said.

“The name of the cart is The Psychic Bean (though the official name of her business is One-room Cabin Enterprises) because I want to be psychic more than anybody. But I’m not.”

Still, she knows when the right man for her to date comes along. Unfortunately, her insight also forewarns her when his next future girlfriend walks by; then she knows a break-up is eminent. In some cases, she puts aside her matchmaking wand in favor of a big fat stick, metaphorically speaking.

“In my case, she usually tries to break me up with my girlfriend because she doesn’t like my matches,” said Breckenridge resident Andre Hampton. “She’s just opinionated when it comes to her friends.”

And in her nine years serving great coffee nearly every day of the season, she has been a role model. Brooke Dames was a shy 17-year-old buser at the Basin when she started selling coffee with Schertzer nine years ago. “She had a lot of influence on my formative years,” Dames said. “It definitely helped me open up and meet so many great people.”

That was Schertzer’s way. She introduced sidelined moms to local ski bums the women might never talk to. She acted as a human message board, conveying meeting places among friends. She held skiers’ goggles, and when customers didn’t have money to pay for their java, she told them to just come back when they had the cash.

“Her unique attitude, for sure, is a draw for me,” Hampton said. “She just has one of those personalities that makes you want to keep coming back.” And Schertzer would keep showing up, if it were up to her. “I would do the espresso bar forever if they didn’t stop me,” she said.

So, the question everyone asks is, will she do it somewhere else? She certainly has natural talent, having maintained her business with “complete disorganization and no acumen with business,” as she puts it.

Though she admits she’s obsessed with coffee, she plans to focus on her other passion, photography, rather than rush into any dreams of starting a cafe. Her main income stems from portraits of pregnant women, and she has taught at Colorado Mountain College for 10 years.

“I’m excited about the future,” she said. “But I’m going to miss my customers so much. I love them.”


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