Customer Highlight - Melva LaJoy

Compass wouldn’t be Compass without community.

Compass wouldn’t be Compass without community.

In our “Customer Highlights” series, we profile members of the Compass community who share our passion for Building Your City - and, of course, for drinking coffee.

In our “Customer Highlights” series, we profile members of the Compass community who share our passion for Building Your City - and, of course, for drinking coffee.


Maybe it’s her generous spirit, or maybe it’s the Vegan Goodness muffin in her pocket—either way, the dogs outside of our Shaw café love Melva LaJoy.

In fact, she’s pretty convinced she has these furry-pawed Compass customers to thank for gracing her with the title of “dog whisperer.”

“There is not a cute dog that doesn’t love to snuggle up with me when I am waiting in line,” she joked.

Dogs are not the only ones who take to Melva. She’s the founder of LaJoy Plans, an event planning business based here in D.C., which means people trust her with many of the most important days of their lives.

“I think events are actually a form of art and expression,” Melva said. “I love that an event can rally a beautifully diverse group of people around a cause like Black Lives Matter, serve as an educational tool (like conferences) or be the reason why you have butterflies in your belly (like my recent wedding, baby shower or graduation party). I believe events are truly where dreams come alive.”

It’s fitting, therefore, that Melva likes to think of herself as a “magic-maker” or “dream-curator.”

“The business has my middle name, ‘LaJoy,’ for a reason,” she said. “My parents named me Melva LaJoy with the ‘LaJoy’ meaning that I am the love and joy of their personal life; planning has become the love and joy of my personal life.”

Joy is a recurring theme with Melva. Her Compass coffee ritual, for example, is all about maximizing joy.

“Listen, I moved to Ward 5 last year and still go to the Compass on 8th Street faithfully every Sunday, and sometimes during the week,” she said. “So I guess you could say at this point I am addicted and have no choice but to stop by Compass since it’s my jam. I love the coffee, the vegan goods are yummy, and the people are always pleasant. It’s just a vibe for a coffee lover (okay, let’s be honest, addict) like me.”

Her good-humored nature and passion for the community makes her feel at home in our cafés. When I asked about her go-to drink, she was ready with an enthusiastic answer.

“I consistently—and I mean consistently like every Sunday—get the Almond Butter Oat Milk Latté at sipping temperature so I can have it immediately and the yummy vegan muffin,” she said.

Melva’s currently involved in multiple community building and awareness events that encompass causes ranging from sexual assault awareness to a series of back-to-school programming for all of D.C.’s Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) known as the MCO Collaborative.

“This is quality programming for the entire community about the importance of health and wellness before young people return to school,” she said. “We are so excited to do this for the community we love.”  

(For more information about our own community building and awareness events, check out the story behind Compass’s Mental Health Action Day to raise awareness for the mental health and wellness of our younger community members here, as well as a story about how we switched from making coffee to hand sanitizer to support the community during the pandemic, here.)

Maybe it’s her generous spirit, or maybe it’s the Vegan Goodness muffin in her pocket—either way, the dogs outside of our Shaw café love Melva LaJoy.

In fact, she’s pretty convinced she has these furry-pawed Compass customers to thank for gracing her with the title of “dog whisperer.”

“There is not a cute dog that doesn’t love to snuggle up with me when I am waiting in line,” she joked.

Dogs are not the only ones who take to Melva. She’s the founder of LaJoy Plans, an event planning business based here in D.C., which means people trust her with many of the most important days of their lives.

“I think events are actually a form of art and expression,” Melva said. “I love that an event can rally a beautifully diverse group of people around a cause like Black Lives Matter, serve as an educational tool (like conferences) or be the reason why you have butterflies in your belly (like my recent wedding, baby shower or graduation party). I believe events are truly where dreams come alive.”

It’s fitting, therefore, that Melva likes to think of herself as a “magic-maker” or “dream-curator.”

“The business has my middle name, ‘LaJoy,’ for a reason,” she said. “My parents named me Melva LaJoy with the ‘LaJoy’ meaning that I am the love and joy of their personal life; planning has become the love and joy of my personal life.”

Joy is a recurring theme with Melva. Her Compass coffee ritual, for example, is all about maximizing joy.

“Listen, I moved to Ward 5 last year and still go to the Compass on 8th Street faithfully every Sunday, and sometimes during the week,” she said. “So I guess you could say at this point I am addicted and have no choice but to stop by Compass since it’s my jam. I love the coffee, the vegan goods are yummy, and the people are always pleasant. It’s just a vibe for a coffee lover (okay, let’s be honest, addict) like me.”

Her good-humored nature and passion for the community makes her feel at home in our cafés. When I asked about her go-to drink, she was ready with an enthusiastic answer.

“I consistently—and I mean consistently like every Sunday—get the Almond Butter Oat Milk Latté at sipping temperature so I can have it immediately and the yummy vegan muffin,” she said.

Melva’s currently involved in multiple community building and awareness events that encompass causes ranging from sexual assault awareness to a series of back-to-school programming for all of D.C.’s Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) known as the MCO Collaborative.

“This is quality programming for the entire community about the importance of health and wellness before young people return to school,” she said. “We are so excited to do this for the community we love.”  

(For more information about our own community building and awareness events, check out the story behind Compass’s Mental Health Action Day to raise awareness for the mental health and wellness of our younger community members here, as well as a story about how we switched from making coffee to hand sanitizer to support the community during the pandemic, here.)



But there’s one cause that is particularly near and dear to her heart right now: dementia awareness. Her own father and namesake, Melvin, who passed away earlier this month, suffered from the disease which affects at least 5 million Americans, not to mention the people who care for them and are forced to watch their loved ones suffer. In D.C. alone, there are an estimated 10,000 community members struggling with the disease. Accordingly, she’s a member of the Marketing Committee of the National Capital Region Alzheimer's Association and is orchestrating a campaign in honor of her father.

“Originally, it was to acknowledge that my Dad was turning 80 today, May 23,” she said. “But sadly, he never made it to his 80th birthday.”

She plans to continue to support the cause, raising money to increase resources for families like hers that have been impacted by the disease, as well as to fund research for a cure.

Melva was born in Connecticut but considers herself to be raised in D.C.—partially, at least. But that hasn’t stopped her from diving in fully to the community here in the District. In addition to planning events and serving the community, Melva also enjoys working out and, in the pandemic, became a regular public speaker.

“In my dreams I am a backup singer or dancer (admittedly I am terrible at both) and have been known to rush a stage at my favorite group’s concert (before social media thankfully),” she joked.

Melva graduated from Howard University and has been serving the community ever since. First as an educator, then as a self-taught event planner, and now as a business owner and thought-leader with a passion for supporting the community that we here at Compass share.

Despite all of her success and dedication to service, Melva describes herself as a “constant work in progress.” But that philosophy of continuing to build, helps to explain her admirable work ethic—and why we’re so excited to highlight her here.

“Supporting small business is akin to supporting a neighbor,” she said.

Melva recommends getting to know the small businesses in your community and investing in their success by supporting them. When I asked if she had any other words of wisdom to share, she did not disappoint.

“I would have to say that everything is better with coffee,” she said. “And a splash of rum responsibly doesn’t hurt anyone.”

We are proud to have Melva as a café regular and as a member of the Compass community. To learn more about her efforts to raise awareness for Alzheimer's in the DC region, check out the link below!

But there’s one cause that is particularly near and dear to her heart right now: dementia awareness. Her own father and namesake, Melvin, who passed away earlier this month, suffered from the disease which affects at least 5 million Americans, not to mention the people who care for them and are forced to watch their loved ones suffer. In D.C. alone, there are an estimated 10,000 community members struggling with the disease. Accordingly, she’s a member of the Marketing Committee of the National Capital Region Alzheimer's Association and is orchestrating a campaign in honor of her father.

“Originally, it was to acknowledge that my Dad was turning 80 today, May 23,” she said. “But sadly, he never made it to his 80th birthday.”

She plans to continue to support the cause, raising money to increase resources for families like hers that have been impacted by the disease, as well as to fund research for a cure.

Melva was born in Connecticut but considers herself to be raised in D.C.—partially, at least. But that hasn’t stopped her from diving in fully to the community here in the District. In addition to planning events and serving the community, Melva also enjoys working out and, in the pandemic, became a regular public speaker.

“In my dreams I am a backup singer or dancer (admittedly I am terrible at both) and have been known to rush a stage at my favorite group’s concert (before social media thankfully),” she joked.

Melva graduated from Howard University and has been serving the community ever since. First as an educator, then as a self-taught event planner, and now as a business owner and thought-leader with a passion for supporting the community that we here at Compass share.

Despite all of her success and dedication to service, Melva describes herself as a “constant work in progress.” But that philosophy of continuing to build, helps to explain her admirable work ethic—and why we’re so excited to highlight her here.

“Supporting small business is akin to supporting a neighbor,” she said.

Melva recommends getting to know the small businesses in your community and investing in their success by supporting them. When I asked if she had any other words of wisdom to share, she did not disappoint.

“I would have to say that everything is better with coffee,” she said. “And a splash of rum responsibly doesn’t hurt anyone.”

We are proud to have Melva as a café regular and as a member of the Compass community. To learn more about her efforts to raise awareness for Alzheimer's in the DC region, check out the link below!




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