Photo courtesy of Steve Hines


Photo courtesy of Steve Hines

Kiesa Kay
Special to The Gardner News
Groundhouse Coffee got named the Coziest Coffeehouse in Kansas in Business Insider magazine’s list of the Coziest Coffeehouses in Each State.
“Located in a renovated, turn of the century building, just the ambiance alone is worth it with many places to get cozy and large windows to bring in plenty of natural light,” said Yelp user Tony W. of Olathe. “The coffee is great, there are plenty of things to nosh on, and the staff is polite and friendly. Better than Starbucks on its worst day.”
Carolina Fox and Gabbi Shaw quoted Tony W. in their Business Insider article onmsn.com, which named Groundhouse the very best of the best in Kansas.
Jami Stephens, manager, expressed big pleasure about the recognition on social media.
“Since cozy is defined as “having a feeling of warmth, comfort, and relaxation” I just wanted to emphasize how huge YOU amazing regulars are in creating this cozy spot in Gardner!” Stephens enthused on the Groundhouse Coffee Facebook page. “Whether you’re pulling up to the drive-thru, hoping to snag the last bacon cheddar scone or peeking over the bar encouraging the new barista who so desperately wants to remember your name for the next time, it’s YOU who brings the warmth and makes Groundhouse Coffee the place people feel relaxed. On behalf of leadership, our bakers, and most definitely our baristas, we share this honor with you, Gardner! You’re the secret ingredient!”
Steve and Beth Hines opened the coffeehouse on Jan. 20, 2012, so the recognition has been a good birthday present for the shop. While recognition makes them happy, their real goal has been to create a comfortable spot for the community to gather, he said.
“We wanted to create a coffeehouse that the people of Gardner could be proud to enjoy, with wifi and nice tables, and a responsive staff,” he said. “We wanted to make the environment as easy and relaxed as we could, so it would be a great place for people to hang out and feel happy.”
Hines said they chose Gardner as the place for their shop because the town has a truly unique character, a personality all its own that isn’t replicated anywhere else.
“Be a rebel! Be a maverick! Be your own person!” the Groundhouse Coffee website proclaims.
Whether snuggled quietly by the fireplace or looking out the window onto the hubbub of Gardner’s Main Street, customers can relax and retreat at this comfortable haven, and customers have been really loyal, Hines said.
The coffee shop at 103 South Elm Street in Gardner has fireplaces, tin ceilings, and hardwood floors. It also received high praise for its many other beverages, including its salty cow and hot tea latte with caramel.
“I judge my coffee shops by their tea lattes,” said Yelp user Lizzie P. of Gardner. “I love my London Fogs (dairy/sugar free, of course ) and Ground House did not disappoint. It was outstanding!”
The gluten-free energy bites, a delicious blend of peanut butter and oats, came in for their share of recognition, as did coffee cake and scones. The crepes got good words, too. Crepes are served at the Main Street location from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We  have exceptional bakers here, and we only started that part six months ago, when we expanded into the space next door,” Hines said.
Groundhouse Coffee has opened up a second location with a drive thru as well as indoor and outdoor seating, at 18855 South Gardner Road, and regular hours for both locations are from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The company also offers catering.
“We are ready to stop expanding,” Hines said. “We want to take a moment, ourselves, to smell the coffee and enjoy it all.”
The owners and baristas extend their service beyond the walls of these two locations, too. They  collected 60 coats, 37 pairs of shoes, and more socks and accessories than they could count for children of USD 231 during their coat and shoe drive in the autumn. Since Groundhouse Coffee opened, they have raised more than $30,000 for Safehouse Domestic Violence Program, too.
“When we opened, we wanted to be here for the community,” Hines said. “The loyalty of our customers has been very humbling. We love it.”