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Meet Jason Waller of Dad’s Coffee Bar in Decatur

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jason Waller.

Jason, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started shooting DAD Presents videos a little over a year ago. This is an interview series with a performance at the end. The goal of the video project is to break the stigma attached to mental illness. The idea came all of a sudden while walking past a for rent sign. After a little searching and market research, I found 240 Dekalb Industrial Way.

Sits a mile outside of Decatur. It has a creek in the back as well as some wooded area to walk around in. A coffee shop where I can run all of the programs I want out of it. Dad’s Coffee Bar will be a fully functioning Coffee joint with live music, yoga, teen nights, open mics, bluegrass jams. As well as shooting DAD Presents videos in front of a live audience.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Well, I’ve been a dog walker/musician for the past 8 years. Before that, I held many other types of jobs from youth minister, high ropes facilitator, at-risk youth wilderness guide, landscaper, cook, painter, conference center host, the maintenance guy, etc.

I’ve functioned my whole life with at least a low-level form of depression. Ups and downs but I’ve always been a survivor. A year ago I got serious about my mental health and discovered this new well of strength and self-esteem. For the first time greatness seemed attainable. Funding has been my biggest obstacle. It looks like I have several more hoops to jump thru before I get my SBA Loan. This has been a constant learning process. I like to say I am failing forward. I’ve overcome the mental barrier that held me back. I see the end product of what Dad’s Coffee Bar will be and now I am reverse engineering the figure out how to make it happen.

Please tell us about Dad’s Coffee Bar.
The company will have 3 different aspects. The coffee bar will provide a place for the community to gather for delicious beverages and a place to meet and share ideas.

The Listening room will provide quality entertainment focusing on the art of music rather than having a party atmosphere. Although I’m sure some of the bluegrass shows will get a little rowdy. Dad’s Coffee Bar will also host support groups and host different mental health events. DAD Presents will continue to produce videos to break the stigma attached to mental illness.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Some of my favorite memories from childhood are camping and hiking with friends. I guess that was more in my teenage years. As a young child, I remember running around the neighborhood exploring the creeks and riding bikes. We used to literally leave the front door open and come and go as we pleased. Life seemed safer growing up.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Maxine Piccinich, Keith Nelms

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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