A cup of conversation without your cellphone


MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – The idea is simple, but for some people, taking a break from technology can be tough. At Cafe Allenatore on 3rd Street in Marquette they are offering a free cup of coffee on Sunday to anyone who is willing to put their phone down for half an hour.

The cafe feels like you are visiting a friend’s home. It’s quiet and cozy with plenty of charm. Local art lines the walls while soft music plays in the background.

Sunday will be the second time the cafe has made the offer. They decided to bring it back for National Coffee Day.

Emilee Gooch and Hannah Kindred are two of the baristas serving up Italian roast coffee in a wide variety of specialty drinks. The two, who have worked at Cafe Allenatore since it opened three years ago talked about the concept.

Kindred said, “It’s a good means of getting the community to put their phone away. They can stop for a second, have a conversation, get some work done, read a book. It’s a good way of blocking things out.”

There is no requirement to hand over your phone. They say it’s an opportunity to take a break. What they will have are small wooden boxes to give your phone a rest in. It won’t be locked up and you can have it back at any time. They say it’s more about creating the opportunity.

Emilee Gooch describes the response after their first effort at offering a digital timeout. Gooch said, “There was kind of a mixed reaction, you know people have a hard time detaching themselves from their phones and didn’t want to give it up. Some people thought it was a really good idea, a good way to get conversations going. It’s just a lot different from everything else and I think people are just excited to have a way to disconnect.”

While it is an opportunity to disconnect from our phones, they say it’s a chance to reconnect with each other.

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