Why do customers of Uncommon Grounds enjoy our community cafes? Typical responses might be: “We love your coffee” or “Your bagels are amazing” or “Our club meets here every Wednesday at 7:00” or “Love your chocolate chip cookies”.
Here at Uncommon Grounds, we describe our appeal as a business whose core is fresh roasted coffee. Surrounding and complimenting this core are delicious, complimentary foods served within a venue that provides a warm, comfortable atmosphere for all types of people. Coffee was chosen as the core of our cafes because coffee has stood the test of time. It has been around for thousands of years, and it is not a fad. Additionally, it typically ranks as the #2 top traded commodity in the world. Coffee is also a beverage that people enjoy drinking daily, many needing to drink it daily. Over the years, the health community has thoroughly vetted coffee as a beverage. Today, the consensus ranges from, “coffee has no adverse effects”, to “coffee is outright healthy due to its antioxidants”. International research in the medical fields continues, with hopes of uncovering even more benefits of this nutritionally complex agricultural product.
Uncommon Grounds proudly serves food that compliments or pairs well with the coffee we love. Initially, we only served desserts and pastries, the internationally traditional accompaniment to coffee. A few years into the business, however, we researched and experimented with bagels similar to those in NYC and Brooklyn. These sizeable, crusty bagels quickly became popular, resulting in all three stores having full bakeries that make and bake bagels from scratch, daily.
More importantly, Uncommon Grounds has evolved into something special based on a concept. In 1989, Ray Oldenburg wrote a book titled The Great Good Place. In his book, he talks about the concept of the third place, the place between home and work. It is a place that people naturally congregate, separate from their homes, place of work, or school. Hallmarks of a true “third Place” are:
- Relatively inexpensive
- Welcoming and comfortable
- Involve regulars – those who habitually congregate there
- Highly accessible
- Food and drink are important
- Are characteristically wholesome. The inside is without extravagance or grandiosity.
- Both new friends and old should be found there. The regulars help give the space its tone.
- Third places put no importance on an individual’s status in society
- Conversation is a main activity
- The tone of conversation within a third place is void of tension or hostility. Instead conversation has a witty playful nature.
- Occupants of third places often have the same feeling of warmth, possession, and belonging as they would in their own home.
If one were to look at Uncommon Grounds from a macro view, as one looks at a forest from a plane, this third place definition strongly applies to Uncommon Grounds. So much so, that one may consider Uncommon Grounds – The Third Place. We feel honored to be regarded as such a worthy and necessary gathering place. We will continue to commit to the principles that support and enhance this meaningful concept.