Invictus Cafe: A new beginning brings hope for the future
For 23 years it was the Java Flow Café. But when Dale and Cheri rescued it last November they changed the name to Invictus Café. Based on a poem written in 1904 by William Ernest Henley, the name Invictus reminds Dale that he has emerged victorious over his own struggles with addiction. In fact, he’s six years clean and sober.
Which means that yes, there is a bit of a tumultuous past. But what matters now is the future that Dale is creating with Cheri and their children. “I’m building what I hope becomes a legacy for our family, something that brings us together and provides for us.”
And in providing for his own family Dale also hopes to provide for the community. Continuing to host support groups, holding open mic nights and hosting live shows are just a few things. “Knowing that I’m creating a place where people can come and find safe harbor is incredibly important to me.” He gives discounts to transit bus drivers, neighboring businesses and has even been known to deliver coffee to the security guards on the Capitol grounds during the wee hours of the morning.
But it’s not all coffee and roses. Dale is juggling shut off notices, working twenty hour days and in general running himself into the ground. Cheri is also working, manning the newly purchased Invictus Espresso Stand in the Casa Mia parking lot, in Dale’s words, “another work in progress.”
However, one conversation with him is inspiring. He’s sold everything he owns and has taken multiple side jobs just to keep doing business. He dreams of not just serving coffee one day but also hot sandwiches, off the yet to be installed grill.
So if you haven’t paid a visit to Invictus Café, across from the Olympia public transit station (207 Washington Street), maybe it’s time to stop in. It’s the only place in town you can get the Invictus Blend, brewed specially for Dale by Firefly Coffee Roasters, also in Olympia. A medium-dark roast, “bold, sweet blend characterized by a mild acidity, heavy body, and flavors of bittersweet chocolate, pipe tobacco, and toasted pecans.” And while you’re there you’ll most likely meet Dale or Dustin (his son, pictued to the right of Dale above) who will greet you like an old friend, ask you how your day is going and immediately, you’ll actually feel like they care—which I really believe they do.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley