Silverthorne’s Got Heart: Red Buffalo & Summit Library
Published October 16, 2019
Nothing says cozy community like curling up with a warm beverage and a good book — and Red Buffalo Coffee & Tea wants to make sure everyone in Silverthorne can do just that.
Red Buffalo, located at 358 Blue River Parkway and backing onto the Blue River, has played an active role in the Silverthorne community since the café opened in 2010. All summer, Red Buffalo hosts Storytime on the Go on the back patio, with a librarian from the Silverthorne-Summit County North Branch Library bringing books to share with kids age 5 and under.
For older readers, the café hosts an ongoing library book sale, with dozens of titles — from mysteries to romances to the latest literary fiction, along with nonfiction volumes and books for kids. All the books are newer and in good condition, with prices ranging from $2 to $8. Proceeds go to the Friends of the Summit County Libraries, which uses the funds to support the libraries.
“I’m a huge reader,” explained Erin Young, Red Buffalo’s owner. “So we were excited when the library sought us out, along with a couple of other local businesses, to host book sales to supplement the big library sales held twice a year at the County Commons.”
Red Buffalo has hosted the library book sale for at least five years, Young said. She estimates book sales at her shop return $1,200–$1,500 per year to the Friends of the Summit County Libraries. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm, and the books turn over quickly. It’s a whole new collection just about every month.”
“Friends of the Summit County Libraries is so grateful for the opportunity to partner with local businesses like Red Buffalo Coffee,” said Friends of the Library President Mark Williams. “Their sales of used books from their bookshelf help the Friends support the Summit County Libraries not only by increasing public support of our libraries but also by purchasing special items that enhance the usability and appeal of our libraries. Their support also enables the Friends to fund special children’s programming as well as the Teen Summer Reading Programs and the Adult Reading Programs.”
Home Away From Home for Readers and Authors
The Red Buffalo team’s passion for literacy doesn’t stop there. The café also serves as a de facto local bookstore, and Young said, “Fun community stuff happens all the time.” The morning we spoke, photographer and local resident John Fielder was in the café and signed a couple of books for patrons.
Frisco author Claudine Norden held a reading this summer for her kids book about introverts, “Quigley the Quiet Hedgehog.” Since then, Red Buffalo has sold her books directly to enthusiastic families who love the book.
“We’ve sold books for a couple of local artists, and for the League for Animals and People of the Summit. Local booksellers and authors can get their start here,” Young added.
A Crucial Part of the Silverthorne Community
Red Buffalo’s huge heart doesn’t stop with literacy, though. You’ve probably seen their red tricycle cart around town at special events, like early October’s Pumpkin Fest, where they gave away 800 cups of hot chocolate and cider to kids and families.
Young also helped lead the charge to eliminate school lunch debt for the Summit School District Elementary Schools, along with the Summit County Chamber of Commerce’s Exit 205 Chapter. That group continues to pursue a long-term solution.
The café has adopted its neighboring segment of the Blue River Trail, and in April (Earth month) offered free drinks to patrons who collected a bucket of trash anywhere along the Blue.
And Young’s commitment to the community goes a step further than many small businesses: She pays employees for volunteer time they spend in the community. Staff have engaged with ongoing activities like SOS Outreach or Mountain Mentors. Others help with one-time needs such as gift-wrapping for Adopt an Angel or trail day with Friends of Dillon.
Looking ahead, starting in mid-November, Red Buffalo will be a drop-off point for Adopt an Angel, which provides gifts to families in the area. Stop in, bring a gift, grab a book, and soak up the good community vibes at Red Buffalo!