Sunday, September 13, 2015

Julie Norris moves from the Homestead.

In March of 2006 Julie and Chris Blanc established Dandelion Communitea cafe. It is a beloved organic cafe located in the heart of Orlando, Florida which serves healthy vegetarian fare and premium loose leaf tea. It is a landmark establishment attracting loyal locals as well as health conscious tourists. More than just a cafe, Dandelion is a gathering place for a diverse cross-section of people in the community with regular cultural events such as art openings, poetry night, eco-networking, moon circles, and other special events.

Julie Norris' homestead was less than a quarter mile from Dandilion. She had turned the Homestead into a place that brought people together as a community. Anytime I visited, I felt welcome. Julie made anyone and everyone feel at home. On December 30th she had to load her belongings onto a U-Haul truck.  The community that she had helped build now came to help her. Julie and Her daughter Maya stayed at friends homes until the lawsuit was settled. She now lives in Deland returning to Orlando once a week to host her radio show, Front Porch Radio. On that show she helps showcase and amplify voices that don't have a regular outlet. Sadly the homestead has since been torn down, being replaced by a townhouse.

"It's been a tough ten years" Julie said. She was just 26 when she established the Cafe with Chris Blanc. Then came the recession followed by an expensive drawn out lawsuit between the partners. Chris  filed to have the company dissolved due to what court documents say were management issues. Julie said that she wants to resolve the situation rather than dissolve the company, which could potentially put Dandelion out of business. This culminated in an expensive law suit that dragged on for well over a year.

Earlier this year the case was resolved and Julie gave up her stake in the company. She is now free to pursue other creative endeavors. Dandelion is still serving tea and hosting art events. From a post at, Julie explained, "It is with a light and liberated heart that I share the news that I am no longer an owner of Dandelion Communitea Cafe, having recently signed a settlement."

Julie has taken some much needed time this summer to  travel with her daughter Maya. The friends she visited helped pay for the trips. One thing she came away with after all the stress of the lawsuit is that she is loved. She found out that the friends who stand by you in the hard times are your true friends. Julie is bubbling with ideas about what creative path she wants to follow next. She is a graphic designer and she is passing that skill on to her daughter. It is a mother and daughter apprenticeship. She also has ideas for three separate businesses she would like to establish. Each project moving forward is intended to empower the women who help her run and grow the business. Julie learned much from the experiences in court that will help her new projects to succeed.

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