GRÉ COFFEEHOUSE & ART GALLERY
text JORGE PEREZCHICA
Kelly and her husband Jim Segre own and operate Gré Coffeehouse & Art Gallery in Downtown Palm Springs, a throw back to an analog era that features photographic art, books, vinyl, vintage typewriter, live music and open mics. Originally from Ventura, CA., the couple visited Palm Springs as a destination for their anniversary every single year in the middle of the summer. “We just loved it here. I love the heat, I’m weird like that, and I love to swim,”Kelly enthuses. The idea of a coffeehouse for creatives began as a young teenager for Kelly, “I was fourteen, I asked my mom to open a coffee shop and she said ‘No,’ it’s not the cheapest thing to ask your parents to do.” But that did not stop Kelly from dreaming. “When I was younger, I used to hangout at coffee shops a lot, it was the early 90’s and in the community that I lived in, we had a lot of these underground type of coffee shops that had the poetry nights. So, it was something I loved doing when I was a young adult.” An an adult, Kelly made a living working as a photographer for twenty-five years. Over time and experience Kelly’s childhood dream began to take flight. “So there were a few times where I started taking action, but it was quite an expensive action to take when your young. I just kept putting it on the back burner, but I did open my photo studio. And with my photo studio I realized that while it’s fun to take photographs. I enjoy it more for myself and so, I decided that I wanted to open up a space for creatives, and that’s when it really started to blossom — I felt the coffee shop was a perfect outlet.”
Now open, Gré Coffeehouse & Art Gallery sets the tone, whether you write, draw or perform. Gré Coffeehouse also imbues all of Kelly’s favorite things and obsessions: “We have one featured artist every single month on the wall. The vinyl records, I grew up listening to that era of music. We have the book exchange so people can take a book, bring a book. Type writers if anyone wants to write analog, we really like the analog feel and the idea of people interacting instead of like just playing on their phones. We have our game nights on Wednesday. We want everyone to come in here and not feel like they are an outsider. I really want people to feel welcomed, because I know creatives always struggle with whether or not they are accepted. Even though we shouldn’t care, but I want a place where creatives can express themselves.” One question people always ask Kelly though is, why the coffeehouse is so far back in a hidden nook — it’s located in the historic Henry Frank Arcade. “I kinda like being that hidden gem. I don’t want something new and I wanted it to feel nostalgic when you come in here. And so the building actually does play a big role in that.” I guess we can talk about our coffee a little bit (laughing).