After refinishing and reupholstering chairs, dodging the dust and tools of construction crews, and enduring days of latte training at the PT’s warehouse (this part was actually kind of scrumptious), the staff of the Blue Planet are teetering at the tops of ladders to paint “a ridiculous amount of square footage,” as Sarah Carson describes it.

“I actually don’t know how much. My brain is fried from paint fumes and being on ladders all day,” said Carson.

Blue Planet Cafe now has a scheduled opening date—October 1.

What day of painting is this? Ask the Blue Planet baristas and they will laugh, laugh at you and your silly pointless questions. Fourteen? Thirty-five? Sixty-five million years? Any of these answers could be true.

Still, the majestic walls of Thacher’s first floor are lovingly receiving their second coat and concrete artist Jarda Kopa is stationing the curvy café countertops. Equipment is arriving (including the beloved espresso machine that will soon deliver customers their caffeine fix), floors are refinished, and the last of supplies are being ordered.

But when will it open? When, when?

“First Friday?” Elaine Rodriguez ventures.

“First Friday of the Apocalypse?” Tim Volpert guesses.

Blue Planet maven Linda Carson waves her hand dismissively and decrees, “We’ll definitely have our grand opening on the First Friday of October.”

The looming date puts Blue Planet butts in high gear to add the finishing touches to Thacher’s first floor. This includes some last-minute espresso machine brushups, lots of cleaning and some pondering over programming the register, complete with buttons for veganaise and hummus. But how much to charge for extra whipped cream?

“Extra whipped cream?!” Linda sputters. “We don’t do that! That’s bad for their little hearts! I’m not trying to kill people.”

There are boxes everywhere, new hire Kat Keyes is slumped over her planner and Lindsay Howgill is wandering barefoot around Gizmo Pictures, the Huntoon business haphazard as it is packed for its downtown move.

“I was standing on the counter,” Howgill explains innocently, “so I figured I might as well take off my shoes.”

Where’s the rest of the crew? On shoots, editing at the partially-disassembled offices across Huntoon or helping out at the café.

Gizmo is still abuzz with business—shooting, editing, rendering, computering, gizmo-ing… Keyes reports that the Gizmo staff hasn’t—and won’t—stop accepting projects, though their pro-bono work is currently at a halt.

“We’ve put in our notice with the previous landlords, and we’ll be out by October 17,” she chirps.

Howgill adds, “We’re scheduling our projects around the move and will do our best to make sure things keep running smoothly.”

It’ll take about a week to set up at the new building with all of their expensive doo-dads and wirey-things and lensy-stuff. (This writer kindly excuses herself to stare off into the distance for some time.)

It’s been such a phenomenally brave undertaking to revitalize the historical building, championed by Jeff Carson and Greg Ready, that it’s easy to overlook that they have been dressing in suits of armor and referring to themselves in the third person.

The staff of both the Blue Planet Café and Gizmo Pictures whole-heartedly welcomes the public to the Thacher building this October to have a cup of coffee, check in on Gizmo’s progress, and eat food that tastes too good to be healthy (but it is). October 1st will launch the addition of the Blue Planet Cafe’s pulse to the beating heart of Downtown Topeka – without all that artery-clogging cholesterol, of course.

[Melissa Sewell | photos courtesy Gizmo Pictures]

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