Meet our team!
Groundswell began the resurrection project of the coffeeshop at 1342 Thomas Ave in December of 2009. We scraped together as much money as we could, asked a bunch of our friends to volunteer their time at the espresso machine, and opened Groundswell Coffee.
We committed ourselves to local high quality coffee roasters, and to source everything we reasonably could from the Twin Cities. We invited musicians who could play for free, offered our walls to local artists, and installed a new patio.
In September of 2011, calamity struck in the form of a collapsed ceiling. We closed our doors, hoping we could make the necessary repairs and reopen. It took us three months, but we were able to transform our dilapidated space into a clean, bright space to gather our neighbors once again. Realizing that volunteer baristas could only take us so far, we transitioned to a completely paid staff, and partnered with Dogwood Coffee to train our baristas with the expertise of the best roasters and baristas in the Twin Cities.
In December of 2012, we found out that our next door neighbors at 1340 Thomas, Borealis Yarns, were closing their doors. We decided to expand. We added a full bakery kitchen and began offering in-house bakery and cafe food. We restored the hardwood floors, added reclaimed wood tables (handmade by our friend Marc LeMaire!), and, with the neighborhood’s support, brought in beer and wine. We enlisted a friend to open a shop in our space that featured arts and crafts, handmade by local artists. Neighbors and friends supported the build out by buying “founder memberships,” investing money into our business in exchange for receiving a free drink from us every day.
We re-opened to a flood of people, press attention, and a recognition that we had lots to learn about running a restaurant! In all of it, we’ve been daily reminded of how much we love this place–the people, the space, the coffee and food, this corner in this neighborhood we care so much about. We hope you love it too!
Groundswell is an experiment in…
CULINARY ART. We love food and drink! Foods have inherent flavors, aromas, layers, and chemistry that we respect and love to play with. We think creating and serving food is an art form that brings people together.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL. The difference between good food and great food is in the details. Grams, ounces, volumetrics, and degrees matter to food and drink, so they matter to us! Close is not good enough.
SIMPLICITY. We will keep our cafe and menu options creative, clean, and simple. We will do a few things well.
HUMILITY (DOWN-TO-EARTHINESS). Humility comes from the root word for human, which means dirt. We remember that even though we care about creating excellent food and drink, we do that from a humble corner in a down to earth neighborhood of St Paul.
RELATIONSHIPS. We are a human community that is interdependent, from owners, to managers, to baristas, to customers, to vendors, farmers, and artists. We are interconnected. And we all benefit when we work together, with mutual respect.
FUN. We will enjoy what we do and how we do it. When it is no longer fun, we will stop.