WAUKESHA, Wis. — Guitar For Life Cafe was one of the only unlocked doors on West Main St. in downtown Waukesha on Monday morning, so I stepped inside to buy a cup of coffee. It quickly became clear the shop wasn’t actually open for business.
The cafe was dark behind the front counter, with a handful of people scattered among the wooden hightops and stools, nursing paper cups of steaming coffee. It wasn’t immediately apparent when they were all doing there. A kind man pointed me in the direction of the complimentary dispenser: “Help yourself.”
I soon learned his name was Dan Faustmann. He’s been downtown for 14 years and has had the cafe and guitar studio on the corner of Main St. and West Broadway for two. On Monday, he opened his shop for chilly members of the press to warm up and anyone else in the community who needed a place to go to process what they’d all been through just hours before.
A tear rolled down his cheek as looked out the window at the abandoned strollers, lawn chairs, and blankets strewn across the curb along the street marked with candy and chalk circles, recounting the harrowing events of Sunday night, when an SUV plowed into the crowd, killing five and injuring at least 48, according to police.