Every town should have a special place where you can just go and chill out, regroup, and rejuvenate — an escape that operates as the heart and soul of a community. We all need a community door to walk through that enters into an abode that aligns with our needs and wants for a recharge. Luckily Everett has such a place nestled in the 2700 block of Colby.
The Firewheel Community Coffee House is one of those rare venues where one can enjoy a pastry, a salad, a latte and an opportunity to unwind and regroup. You can wander around a fabulous bookstore featuring everything from vintage reads to new releases from local authors, or whatever genre that interests you.
Need to find a spot for a business meeting or a social get together? Not a problem, you can enjoy free use of the Firewheel’s conference table. Need a comfy couch to sink into with your favorite spy novel? You are more than welcome to do just that, but don’t forget to match that experience with your favorite herbal tea.
Want to rev things up a bit and enjoy some live music from some of the best local bands? Well stick around because the Firewheel is becoming quite the venue for independent musicians and cutting edge music. Mike was lucky enough to team up with 23 year old Julio Palomino and his company Northend Roar. Julio’s company built the stage to showcase the musicians as they perform, and Northend Roar books all the shows as well. Indeed, the Firewheeel Community Coffee House has quickly become a rejuvenation spot that accommodates your hunger, your thirst, your quest for knowledge, your need for music, and your desire to be around fun and authentic people.
And if the Firewheel is the center of the district, then the center of the Firewheel itself is it’s charismatic owner Mike Lapoint. Mike Lapoint is originally from Western Massachusetts, and some years ago came out to the Pacific Northwest and was immediately impressed with the friendly approachable people of the region. “Everywhere I went people just seemed grounded, kind, and willing to strike up a conversation. And that blends right into the way I was raised with my own family — we like people.”
You have to be an adventurous spirit to run a business like the Firewheel, and Mike might have some roots that help. He said one of his direct ancestors was an adventurous French Canadian Fur Trapper who staked out a living in the vast wilderness of the North. Maybe its not wilderness in Downtown Everett, but Mike has kind of staked his own claim to helping and honoring the people of his community. He wants his business to be something that upgrades the quality of the downtown experience.
And part of Mike’s down-to-earth demeanor extends from the fact that he comes from a working class family. His father was one of the best concrete finishers in Massachusetts, and Mike has always understood the plight, strife, likes, challenges, and attitudes of the working class. He’s even been a union official in the past, and he has always believed that there is nothing wrong with giving a person an acceptable living in exchange for dedication in the work place. And he wants to do whatever is necessary to help in making that a reality.
In fact, Mike recently ran for congress as an independent and garnered a respectable portion of the vote. When Romney was faltering in the last presidential election because of his 47 percent comment, Lapoint’s campaign banner proudly proclaimed that he is for the 99 percent. And it doesn’t take but a few minutes chatting with Mike to realize that he is indeed a man of the people.
Mike is a businessman and yet he proudly states that every worker should get decent wages. “It’s amazing how many out there put in a full day’s work (day in and day out) and don’t have enough to pay for their food let alone their rent. It’s not right.” he said. Another example of his attempt to deal with others on a just level can be seen with just his book inventory. When most bookstores take 40 percent of the revenue for sales of books from new local authors, Mike will only accept half that amount. As he states, “New local authors are struggling to make it, and I want help them get established.”
Lapoint simply takes a community heart-to-heart approach with his business. He does his best to support and incorporate other community businesses in to his own. That’s why he brings in specialties everyday from an area bistro, just so his customers can have a little something more than the average coffee house can provide.
Asked if he’d consider running again for congress, Lapoint responded, “Absolutely. In fact I’m getting ready for another run this year.” So there you have it — a place where can you walk into a door and be served books, food, music, conversation, laughter, and rejuvenation — all from a future congressman. It doesn’t get any better than that. Everett is indeed very lucky to have the Firewheel Community Coffee House at 2727 Colby.
Stop by and say hi to the friendly staff, enjoy a read, your favorite beverage, and a reboot. And if you happen to be craving some music, stop by on a night when Northend Roar has booked some fantastic entertainment, and you’ll be in for a fun evening. For sure the Firewheel is one place you should check out.