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Gathering Grounds offers coffee, welcoming work environment

Shoshana Rice

Contributing Writer A warm and peaceful place in town to study, chat or relax over a good cup of coffee lies tucked into a strip mall on North Market Street. Gathering Grounds opened about two months ago under the ownership of a local couple, Martha and Stephan Kovach. The shop was previously called Woo’s Brews, but the original owner could no longer run the shop, so he sold it to the Kovachs because he knew they would do the site justice.

While they never dreamt of running a coffee shop, they always wanted to create a place where they could help build community, support local artists, and really contribute to building connections between people in the city. The cafe’s slogan, “Where Coffee Meets Community,” enourages all types of people to feel welcome: professors grading papers, old friends and family catching up, businessmen having meetings, students studying or hanging with friends, etc.

Martha describes her and her husband’s creation as “an extension of their home.” This idea is also embodied through the shop’s cozy décor. The warm colors, seasonal decorations and beautiful artwork make you feel like you’re in someone’s personal living room (especially because most of the décor is directly from the walls of their home).

When I first walked in, I was greeted by a friendly barista and some light-hearted music humming in the background. To the left on a brick wall hangs their drink menu with all kinds of hot, cold and frozen coffee options as well as different types of tea. It has all the basics covered, with a chalkboard displaying the holiday specials. I ordered a hot caramel apple cider, which I highly recommend. There’s also a nice selection of muffins, scones and other pastries, which are baked fresh every morning. I was worried I’d have to leave shortly after I entered because I noticed that the sign on the door said it closed at 3 p.m. on Saturdays, but, as it turns out, the Kovachs are in the process of changing their hours and plan to stay open for as long as they have customers.

Martha and Stephan hire local artists to play every Thursday night. The musicians are well-known locally, friends of friends, or amateur local musicians who sought out the gig. Previously they even recruited two students whom they overheard harmonizing quietly over coffee. Martha envisions these Thursdays providing the community great live music without a cover charge and a place where people can enjoy some good coffee and relax. In the future, she also plans to explore options for comedy nights, movie nights, art workshops and art exhibitions. Martha is open to anything that will help bring the community together, especially because she preceives that there is a divide between the College and the residents of Wooster.

Whether to have a peaceful off-campus study session, to have a coffee date with a friend or significant other, to bring your visiting family members, or to relax and listen to music on a Thursday night, Gathering Grounds is the up and coming, warm and welcoming place to be. I strongly encourage you to check it out.

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