Your Neighbor: Meet Lauren Ramirez

Published 12:05 am Thursday, January 11, 2024

By Mandy Haggerson

For the Clemmons Courier

CLEMMONS — When you’re willing to put yourself out there and ask for help, it’s refreshing when the community supports you.

Lauren Ramirez, owner of the Dog-eared Coffee Company in Clemmons, recently shared a vulnerable post on social media. The message to her community asked them to consider her establishment, which was founded on much thought, hopes, and dreams, even if it was just once.

With the hopes of making it to their first anniversary in March, Ramirez was willing to make herself vulnerable to support her employees and business. The outpour of support was overwhelming. More than 1,500 community members responded.

Ramirez discovered her love of coffee while in college at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

“I started making coffee during this time and became a frequent flyer at Tate Street Coffee Shop, which is an institution in Lexington,” Ramirez said. “I even further developed a love for learning about it when I moved to Alaska with my husband, Gil, during his time in the United States Army.”

While in Alaska, Ramirez frequented the many independently owned coffee huts in Fairbanks.

“I knew once his time in the Army was up that I wanted to take what I had experienced back to the Triad where I had loved living,” Ramirez said.

When the Ramirez family moved back to North Carolina, they became parents to daughters Eva and Izzy. Ramirez began to see that 2021 was a pivotal year for her and her family.

“I had bought my first espresso machine,” Ramirez said. “Tyler Prevatte of Perfect Blend in Lexington has been such a wonderful mentor, from helping me pick the machine to also guiding me through the process of being a small business owner.

“During that same time, we learned that our daughter, Izzy, had a congenital heart defect when she was born. Our goal was to open up Dog-eared Coffee once she got better. Unfortunately, that never happened. Izzy succumbed to Interrupted Aortic Arch B, as well as her diagnoses of DiGeorge and Noonan Syndrome, after spending eight months at the Duke University Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. They were so kind and loving to Izzy and our family there. We remain in contact with many doctors, nurses, and other families we met while staying there.”

Ramirez explains the connection that Izzy has with Dog-eared is one of healing and also a tribute.

“The shop is a living memorial to her because we were trying to put all of the love that was poured into us and into her life back out to the community as frequently as we were able to,” Ramirez said.

Another way that Ramirez chooses to give back is through advocacy work and fundraising.

“Be Kind for Izzy Day is coming up on Jan. 14 on what would have been her second birthday,” Ramirez said. “This year, we will be raising money for Hopeful Hearts of the Triad. This will allow families that have children with congenital heart diseases the necessary funds to navigate life as they deal with hospitalizations and stays. Our goal is to raise $3,000 … We also hope one day, these funds can help find a cure.”

Ramirez greatly appreciates the support she has received so far.

“I could not do this kind of outreach without the love and support of our friends in family, both in Durham and here,” Ramirez said. “Additionally, Jill Brawley has been a massive advocate here in the Triad for congenital heart defects and has helped us get this group started. We operate out of the maternal fetal medicine clinic over on Hawthorne with Dr. Kathy Secrist which includes several other incredible nurses. They allow us to use their space and are staunch supporters of every endeavor we have.”

On top of medical advocacy, Ramirez loves to read, travel and eat a good pastry with coffee.

“This isn’t much different than many people’s passions, I’m sure,” Ramirez said. “I just love enjoying those small moments and wins that give you a second of respite from grief that allows you to remember there’s joy, too. Those two emotions are so intertwined for us, and if our shop can be a refuge for others in their own daily trials and triumphs, we think it’s been worth it.”

One of the Ramirez family’s recent joys also includes their daughter, Camila.

“We are so thankful for these girls and try to make sure Izzy is still part of our conversation every day,” Ramirez said. “My husband has been such a huge supporter from the start and never lets me or the girls think there is an option other than achieving your dreams. We are hoping that we can grow our company to also help fulfill others’ dreams by giving back each month to local causes.”