|(This was from my wedding in 2000 & Grandma passed away a year later.)|
As an adult I'll be more than likely to meet friends for coffee rather than lunch and I'll generally meet them at the same place all the time, but a few weekends ago I met my friend Maggie at a new coffee shop called Fresh Grounds in St. Paul.
I was really just looking for a coffee shop that would be a great place for us to 'meet in the middle', but what I found is a coffee shop that has an incredible mission behind the coffee shop doors.
See Fresh Grounds is not just any old coffee shop, rather they are a " a non-profit social venture, that provides trainees critical employment skills!" I also love that according to their website they put 100% of their profits back into their training program.
As the founder of a non-profit myself, I was more than happy to meet my friend at this location and I'll tell you, I'd go there again and again. It was not just a coffee shop, not just a "non-profit social venture", but to my surprise it was so much more. Here are a few great tidbits I gathered from Anne Mayers, the Fresh Grounds manager:
- Eggspressos: Fresh Grounds is one of a few rare breed coffee shops that “blow” steam into two eggs with the wand of the espresso machine. Yummy scrambled eggs are the result. Plop them on an English muffin or a St Paul Bagelry bagel with a slab of ham or sausage and we’ve got converts from down the street at McDonalds. We make that breakfast sandwich look really really pathetic.
- Our training program is going gang busters. Most of the kids we train at fresh Grounds have no cooking experience and love the food part of the program. We bake scones cookies and banana bread every day. Oh yea- THERE is a difference between baking powder and baking soda ( a life lesson).
- The most important part of being a trainee is up front at the counter interacting with our wonderful customers. Good customer service is a skill that will lead to other jobs and that is our mission. We want all our kids to move on to employment and become self- supporting in jobs they like.
- We have a small garden (thanks to Bachmans) and do a garden to table dinner once a month call 27 Plates (that’s all we have). It’s by reservation only and the dinner always sells out. We’re always looking for unusual entertainment for that evening.
Seriously though, how cool is that, a coffee shop that isn't just a coffee shop, it's offers so much more than one would ever imagine.
If you are like me and your heart is for organizations that use food as a way to reach out to others, please take some time in the coming weeks or months to book an hour long coffee date with a loved one or a friend and head to Fresh Grounds.
You'll be so glad you did!
From my heart to yours,