New coffehouse aims to nourish and nurture in Marion

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
by

The Free Press

The Daily Grind, a new coffeehouse that recently opened in Marion, is offering folks a break from, well, the daily grind.

“This is a place where you can sit down and relax and visit with your neighbors and friends,” said manager Kym Thompson. “It’s kind of out of the ordinary.”

Thompson and husband Troy opened the shop Aug. 18, offering a variety of drinks, such as specialty coffees, teas, sodas, fruit drinks and shaved ice. They also feature daily homemade dessert specials.

“This has been quite a long journey,” Thompson said. “It was a vision of my daughter, Breona, and a couple of ministers.”

During a series of church meetings that started last year, Breona talked to two visiting pastors and told them she would like to operate a coffeehouse someday.

“The one minister felt compelled to say he would back that-that God told him to back that and support that,” Thompson said.

“It’s taken all this time, and there have been a lot of struggles along the way,” Thompson said one week after opening.

“Because the two ministers traveled all over, it was very hard for them to get this together. So finally, within this last month, they decided to turn it over to Troy and me.”

Her daughter has moved out of the area, Thompson said.

“When she decided to move on we understood, because we knew she was 19 and hadn’t experienced life yet. And this just seemed like it was never going to happen.”

Her parents spent the past months working on the space at 125 E. Main-transforming it into a shop run on volunteer labor and prayers.

“God’s the owner,” Thompson said. “We’re just managing it. Everybody who is working here is volunteering, including my husband and me. No one will be paid to work here. The money goes back into getting the place stocked and going and running like it should.”

Thompson is a para-educator at the Oasis school in Florence, and Troy works full time at the Marion Post Office.

Members of the community pitched in to help the coffeehouse dream become a reality.

“Electricians have donated their time, carpenters have donated their time, the school donated making the counter and getting all of that together,” Thompson said. “People have donated tables and chairs and things to display on the walls, like the cameras and coffee pots.”

Two round tables seat four patrons comfortably in the middle of the coffeehouse, and two high tables seat eight more near expansive glass windows along the front of the shop. Additional seating allows customers to sit at the front counter while staff bustles behind the counter and in the kitchen-blending specialty drinks.

Staffing in the evenings is not a problem, but Thompson needs more volunteers to come forward to help during the day.

“It’s hard to find help then,” she said. “So if there are some retired people who would like to volunteer to help here, that would be wonderful. They would work just like I am-they’re going to do it all.”

Summer hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and closed Sunday and Monday.

With no previous experience operating a coffeehouse, Thompson relied on information from the Internet and help from Marisa Root, owner of Little Pleasures coffeehouse and bakery in Hillsboro.

“I’ve run over there many times asking how to do this and that,” Thompson said.

The extended menu includes Jones Soda from Canada, Italian sodas, fruit smoothies, ice coffee and teas. Four large carafes are filled every day with regular coffee, decaf coffee and two specialty coffees, such as chocolate velvet and caramel rum crunch.

An espresso machine allows the Thompsons and volunteers to whip up the coffee straight or as a cappuccino that comes in three different sizes.

A menu board behind the counter lists the homemade baked goods for the day.

Instead of sitting in front of the television, youngsters and the young at heart can get together to play games at The Daily Grind.

“We had a group of college kids the other night playing Old Maid,” Thompson said. “It was hilarious watching them sit there and play Old Maid. It was fun.”

Entertainment will also come in the form of musical groups performing on selected Fridays and Saturdays.

If running out of products during opening week is an indication of the success of a coffeehouse, then The Daily Grind is well on its way. Customers, ranging from children to senior citizens, were either very thirsty or rallying around the Thompsons to support them their first week, when supplies dwindled quickly.

The Daily Grind is a place for people to take a break in their day, enjoy refreshments and baked goods, visit and be entertained. But it’s also part of a personal mission.

“The idea is to get people talking again and to be able to minister to each other and care about each other,” Thompson said.

“As we’re doing well, we would like to help minister to other people in town-other groups and other people in areas where there are needs. But anybody is welcome, even if they’re not searching.

“We’re just here to provide a positive environment and a place for people to feel comfortable. It’s a Christian environment, but I’m not going to be pushing my religion on anybody.”

Plans include possibly offering a soup and sandwich menu in the fall.

“We’d also like to sell coffee beans,” Thompson said. “So they could buy the whole beans, or we’ll grind it here for them when we get a grinder.”

With no grants or loans backing the enterprise, Thompson said she takes one day at a time.

“It’s all on faith,” she said. “In fact, when we opened last week, it was called ‘Let’s get the Rent Paid on Tuesday.’ And we did, by everybody coming in and having drinks and stuff, we paid the rent.

“I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to do,” Thompson said. “I don’t know how else to say it. I’m just being faithful to what God wants me to do. I love working around people, and I love working with kids, too.”

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