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Friday

August 2014

29

The real love shack of Delafield

Milwaukee Street Traders is where love blossoms

Sometimes love blossoms in the strangest of soils. Milwaukee Street Traders in Delafield seems to have quite the fertile ground for love as numerous love connections have been made at the coffee shop.

As chance would have it

It was a rainy night in May 2004 when Ela Nelson braved the storm to study at Milwaukee Street Traders.

"I pulled up in front of (the shop) and behind this old, clunky, beatup Volvo and I thought it was really interesting," recalled Ela. The car had Texas plates and a bumper sticker with a quote from an old orthodox prayer. While Ela thought the idea of an orthodox cowboy was pretty cool, something in her told her, "I'm going to fall in love with whoever drives this car."

Just two other patrons were inside the coffee shop that night, one of whom Ela somehow knew was the driver of the Volvo. That same man sat across from her and would occasionally look up and smile. They struck up a conversation.

"We just started talking," said Ela, and 45 minutes later, it was like the pair had known each other forever. "That night we both went home and didn't expect to see each other again, but we both knew we wanted to." The couple hadn't exchanged phone numbers, so another meeting would be left up to fate.

Hoping to see him again, Ela skipped school the next day and went back to the coffee shop. There was Lee, hoping to see Ela again too. The couple spent the entire day at the shop talking, then shared a pizza for dinner. Dessert was compliments of the owner at that time, who served them key lime pie. Despite tempting fate once already, the couple still didn't exchange phone numbers before leaving that evening.

The next Monday morning, Lee, then a student at Nashotah House, started to panic in the middle of chapel that he would never see Ela again. He scribbled down a message for her - with his phone number this time - and left it at the coffee shop for the barista to pass along.

The couple got married in September 2005 and hired staff from Milwaukee Street Traders to assist with the catering. In lieu of cake, the couple served key lime pie at their wedding.

In a romantic gesture, Lee recently purchased from the coffee shop the two chairs he and Ela were sitting in the day they met. Plans are being made to ship them to California where the couple lives with their children. Paul Starr of Paul's Carpet and Furniture Cleaning has offered to clean the chairs before being shipped.

Love magnet

Sara Weber of Pewaukee and Scott Ackatz of Milwaukee decided it was time to finally meet in person after first meeting online. As regular cross country skiers at Lapham Peak State Park, "we were both familiar with the coffee shop," Sara recalled. Love soon took hold, and the two would often return to the coffee shop while dating.

The couple became engaged in May 2011 and married on June 9 this year. They held their rehearsal dinner at Milwaukee Street Traders the night before the wedding.

"We just wanted some place that was kind of private," Sara said.

Current coffee house owner David Smith of Lake Mills jokes that "we kind of coined (Milwaukee Street Traders) 'the coffee love shack.' "

Smith noted that one couple even got married at Milwaukee Street Traders. He recalled an older couple who had reserved the meeting room one afternoon at 1 p.m. sharp. Before staff knew it, a dozen people had shown up and were rearranging the furniture. When staff looked in to see what was going on, "the couple was standing in front of the fireplace getting married," he said with a laugh. Staff quickly put together a little congratulatory basket for the couple.

He added that once word started getting out about the love connections at the coffee shop, "we started getting all these stories" on Facebook.

When asked why she thinks so many couples find love at the coffee shop, manager Michele Mireau said, "I think it's mostly about being comfortable." A slew of comfortable chairs and couches in a living-room-like setting create a comfortable atmosphere that encourages people to strike up conversations.

"It's kind of a magnet for people who are in love or want to be in love," said Mireau.

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