When Milady Coffeehouse owner Glen Ellis decided to step down as owner of both the building and business, Taylor Henrickson, building manager at the time, said he was worried about the future of the coffeeshop with someone new in charge.
“And then they decided, ‘Hey, maybe we can split these up,’” he said. “When I heard that, I texted Amy (Ellis) and was like, ‘Put me in the front of the line.’”
On Monday, Henrickson, 27, became the official new owner of Milady Coffeehouse along with his wife, Pearl.
Born in Wichita Falls, Texas, Henrickson moved to Minot, North Dakota, where his father was stationed as a member of the U.S. Air Force. At age 12, his family moved to Fremont in 2005, where he attended middle and high school.
Henrickson attended Metropolitan Community College before working for Glen Ellis at Sycamore Education.
“I just wanted to move on to something else, but he wanted to keep me on, so he moved me over to Milady to try something new,” Henrickson said. “And then just something really clicked and I really enjoyed it and here we are.”
Even before the coffeeshop opened in 2017, Henrickson was involved with the business, which also included the creation of the Pioneer Stage, started by Ellis’ nephew, Bryan Vanderpool of folk-pop duo the Well Pennies.
“So 2015 going on, I was still here in the shadows in some way,” Henrickson said. “But then I was helping with the venue stuff, and then Bryan stepped back around 2018, and then I took up the Pioneer, and really, the Pioneer has been me.”
In 2015, Henrickson also began audio mixing with First Lutheran Church. Two years later, he opened his first business, Sound Tailor Audio, which provides sound mixing services for shows.
“I have any kind of microphone you could want, and I do everything except the actual performance,” he said. “The band shows up, and I’m there for them.”
Although the Pioneer Stage saw national acts at first, Henrickson said they started to decrease after Vanderpool’s exit.
“But what I really started to notice was we really started to get well-known with the local scene, so it was kind of odd,” he said. “We would get national acts in here, and people locally were like, ‘Where is this place? I have no idea.’ Now it’s kind of flipped around.”
Working at Milady, Henrickson said he was proud to be a part of a big cornerstone of the community and made sure to dedicate himself behind the scenes.
“I can’t tell you how many 12-hour days, 16-hour days there were involved, just making sure we had what we needed, making sure we’re in a good position,” he said. “I can’t stop one day, because if I stop one day, then the next day, everything kind of crumbles.”
Although he was surprised by Ellis’ selling of Milady, Henrickson said he knew he wanted to step up due to his drive to help fill its untapped potential.
“Just a few weeks ago, we closed on a Friday at 7, and I was just standing in here looking like, ‘It’s Friday at 7. There could be something going on,’” he said. “So it’s just giving people more reasons to come in.”
As owner, Henrickson said he wants to push the building’s pint room, hold more events such as esports tournaments and bring a crew on to get shows ready for the Pioneer Stage.
“Right now people, I feel like they come in because they enjoy the space; I want to give them things to enjoy in that space besides, ‘Let’s go study, let’s go work,’” he said. “This place doesn’t have to just be study and work, it can be fun, too.”
Along with his wife, Henrickson said he’s looking forward to taking over the reins for Milady.
“Nothing has functionally changed here,” he said, “but we have the drive and the ambition and the ideas to go forward and bring some new things to the table.”