What started as a minor conversation to add a coffee counter at Small Business Bank (formerly Gardner Bank) led to the opening of Groundhouse South.
Groundhouse Coffee, owned by Steve and Beth Hines and Jason and Christa Schroeder, opened their original location at Main and Elm in 2012.
“Our customers had been asking for a drive-thru from the day we first opened in 2012,” Steve Hines said. “Our Elm St. location would never be able to offer a drive thru.”
The discussion on a coffee counter shifted to what it would take to offer drive thru convenience.
“Next we knew, we were buying the building from Gardner Bank (now Small Business Bank) and making plans for a cafe, drive thru and bakery to be housed at this one location,” Hines said. “It also allows us to offer a very large outside area where customers can relax and enjoy a drink (coffee drink).”
Hines said the expansion ended up being more than originally planned, in part due to a drive and parking reconfiguration required by Gardner that GH owners were unaware of when they first purchased the property.
“In fact, it had reached the point where it looked like that change was going to make it impossible for us to afford to complete the necessary changes and so we would just halt work and try to resell the property,” Hines said. “We were able to work with the city in developing a Small Business Incentive Program aimed to help locally owned small businesses with expansion costs that are driven by the city. This $ 25,000 contribution by the city made it possible (or at least relieved a bit of the financial strain) to continue with renovation.”
Since opening, Hines said 12 new positions have been added.
Many local companies were used to complete the renovation. “We are big believers in “buy local” and Gardner has more resources than most people realize,” he said.
Hines said GH knew going in that the biggest challenge would be creating a Groundhouse experience for customers at two very different properties.
“We feel that we’ve accomplished this by keeping it simple, “ Hines said. “What we call the “behind the bar” experience; in other words, the drinks and baked goods we offer, would be exactly the same at both locations.”
However, instead of trying to duplicate Groundhouse Main in a building with a completely different look and feel, we decided instead to compliment our Main St. store at our Gardner Rd location.”
For our customers it means that Groundhouse Main offers crepes every Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Hines said. Main also offers plenty of room to spread out with lots of seating. Main is a store loaded with personality that has to be felt. Groundhouse South, on the other hand, offers less inside seating, but it’s all soft furniture with one laptop work table that seats five. South also has a more modern, urban vibe.
“We also have a large patio, the convenience of drive thru and easy access to I-35,” Hines said. “Since we’ve opened, we see many of our customers at both locations…depending on their day and maybe even their mood.”