Durham veteran-owned coffee shop prepares to close, gains local support
Intrepid Life, a Durham coffee shop known for its advocacy of veterans’ rights, is scheduled to close on September 7 unless an Indiegogo-based online fundraising campaign is able to raise enough money to keep the store in business.
The local coffee shop opened seven months ago, and has since proven a popular venue for Durham citizens and university students. Intrepid Life was founded by owner Matt Victoriano, a former Marine scout and sniper who wanted to create a beneficial workplace for recently returned veterans. The Chronicle attempted to reach out to Victoriano, but he was unavailable for comment due to a prior engagement at the White House where Victoriano was named as a "Champion of Change" for his work regarding veterans' rights.
“I heard about [Intrepid Life] from a colleague,” said Documentary Studies Professor Duncan Murrell. “Since then I’ve gone back fairly often.”
The store is decorated with military accoutrements and comfortable furniture; it sells a variety of coffee, tea, alcoholic beverages, pastries, and snacks.
“The chai lattes, both hot and iced, are heaven,” said M.C. Bousquette ‘T14.
Students and staff alike have expressed solidarity with Victoriano’s mission.
“As someone with a long family history of American military service, I am completely in support of and grateful for the Intrepid goal of creating a safe space for veterans returning home from military service,” said Bousquette. “I overwhelmingly found Intrepid's environment clearly to be a safe, welcoming one to not only veterans, but also those from all parts of society.”
Former veteran Murrell appreciates Victoriano’s attempt to “build a community that everyone can get involved in and support.”
Despite the positive reviews, Intrepid Life faces closure in a week due to economic difficulties.
In a statement made by Victoriano on Indiegogo, after a prosperous spring, business “stagnated to such a degree over the summer that my landlords have given me until September 7 to pay rent or close the business.”
Victoriano has started an Indiegogo fundraising campaign that has currently raised $14,595.00 out of $27,000.00 at the time of publication. The campaign will run until September 5th.
“I am definitely donating,” said Murrell. “I’m going to give until it hurts.”
Long-time customers hope that the campaign will be enough to save Intrepid Life and further its mission.
“It makes my heart ache that Intrepid could be gone if the IndieGogo campaign doesn't succeed,” said Bousquette.
As the days until the payment deadline count down, community members are imploring to others to help keep Intrepid Life in business.
“Go down there and grab a cup of coffee,” says Murrell. “[Intrepid Life] has enough meaning to enough people that it is worth giving it one last shot.”