Coffee houses have been a gathering place for discussion of ideas since the 1700s. Many great works of historical note have no doubt begun as an idea shared with a friend over a cup of coffee. Noted 18th Century author Alexander Pope decided to be a writer as a child when he saw a famous writer in a London coffee house. However, great things don’t have to be on the scale of “An Essay on Man” in order to make big changes, especially ideas developed by the community, for the community. Common Ground Coffee Co. functions in much the same way as coffee shops through history–as a gathering place for the community and surrounding area.
When one walks through the door of the Common Ground Coffee Co., the customer is immediately surrounded by the welcoming atmosphere of the restored historic downtown building. However, the interior is furnished so nicely that the shop wouldn’t be out of place in a trendy area of Kansas City. Several of the walls have been repaired with fresh sheet rock and painted in neutral and jewel tones, and others have been re-covered with weathered wood, lending a tasteful variety to the appearance of the shop. Hanging light fixtures lend the perfect amount of light for reading without being harsh or overbearing. Comfortable couches are scattered on either side of the main seating area of tables and chairs, and in one corner, a display of oil paintings catches the eye. According to Manager Tyler Hazen, the goal was to personalize the setting in order to set it apart from the look of corporate shops. He said that the goal was to create a comfortable, neutral setting in which people could express themselves.
When asked if Common Ground Coffee Co. might become a place of gathering for thinkers and creative minds, Hazen said, “I think it has been already.” The coffee shop hosts everything from live music to poetry nights, allowing local talent to present their creative work. When asked where the capital and materials came from to start Common Ground Coffee Co., Hazen said, “This was all donation. Once we start building [the business], hopefully we can give back to the community.”
Events planned for summer include live music on Friday nights, starting in July.