In 2006 Larry James Jr. opened the coffee house Mars Café in Des Moines. It became a beloved social hub for various professionals, artists, and college students to converge and connect. Mars Café will close on August 18th and within hours of this announcement customers began sharing their fond feelings about the cafe on Twitter and Facebook.

Two years ago I asked James about this café’s appeal, and he cites the concept of Third Space from the book “The Great Good Place” by Ray Oldenburg. This is a place someone chooses to be when not at home or at work. A summary from Wikipedia lists Oldenburg’s eight characteristics of a Third Place which include Accessibility and Accommodation, The Regulars, and A Home Away from Home. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_place

Recorded on the Mars Café stage during a winter night January 6, 2010.

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