Morinville – Walking through the doors of Higher Grounds on 100 Avenue one is immediately struck with the welcoming ambiance of the coffee shop. The tables and chairs are modern looking; there’s a pair of comfy leather set off to the side for a little extra luxury; a big screen silently plays the news of the day, and there is a little smooth jazz playing on the stereo – jazzy enough to let you know you are in a cutting-edge coffee shop and low key enough that it would be appropriate background music for anyone to sip their chai latte to.
While the name and location is new, the volunteer-run, non-profit coffee shop is not. Higher Grounds, located in the former Go Bike store, began life as New Beginnings, located a couple doors down in the current CX Shooters location.
“We started having a coffee bar about 2005,” said Crystal Terhorst, one of the volunteers who help run the non-profit coffee shop, adding the original incarnation of the business was on a smaller scale. “We wanted to have a place where people could come and relax and have a good cup of coffee.”
But the coffee shop wanted to expand, and moving two doors down has allowed them to do just that while maintaining their original vision.
“Our vision is to be a place where people can meet, where young people can release their music,” Terhorst said, adding the coffee shop is planning to host CD release events for local musicians. “We’re going to have what’s called Hot Dogma nights. People can come in and read their poetry if they think they’re talented. They can read poetry; they can do stand up; they can maybe do a song or something. We want to have some of these things as an alternative to the bar scene on Friday nights for young people.”
Terhorst said while the shop closes at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, they stay open until 11 p.m. on Friday nights to provide that venue for Morinville youth.
But late hours on Friday is not the only way Higher Grounds gives back to the community in which they operate. Being non-profit, proceeds go back into the community.
“When people buy coffee here, they are actually paying it forward into the community,” Terhorst said. “We’ve given to places like the Food Bank. We’ve given to places like Victim Services, the youth centre, different charities here in Morinville.”
Higher Grounds, while supporting a wide-range of charitable initiatives in Morinville also cater to a diverse clientele, one that is not confined to any one age group or any one taste in hot beverages. The coffee shop carries a wide range of coffees and specialty beverages to enjoy in the shop or to take back to work.
“People are just finding out about us,” Terhorst said, adding they will continue to promote the shop through contests, events and word of mouth. “We get new people every day, so it’s been very good.”
In addition to people dropping in for coffee, Higher Grounds can also be booked as a place to hold group meetings.
The coffee shop is open Tuesday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m.