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Grounds for expansion


Grounds for Celebration, the popular neighborhood coffeehouse chain, is building a fourth outlet in Windsor Heights, planting itself amid one of the fastest-growing residential areas of the state.

The new coffeehouse, co-owned by Jan and George Davis and Bryan Marker, will be located at 6601 University Ave. and is expected to open during the first week in April. Grounds for Celebration already operates coffeehouses at 2645 Beaver Ave., 3801 Ingersoll Ave. and at 4800 George M. Mills Civic Parkway in West Des Moines.

The new 1,500-square-foot Grounds for Celebration will have a drive-through window and seat about 40 people. That would make it slightly bigger than the chain’s West Des Moines, which is its largest location. Adding to the Windsor Heights store’s size is an outdoor patio that will be open in warm weather. The patio will seat 20, according to Jan Davis.

“We really couldn’t pass this location up,” Davis said. “It was the right thing for us at the right time.”

The new coffeehouse comes during a time of shakeout among Des Moines’ coffee purveyors. Seattle-based Starbucks Corp. opened its first location in Greater Des Moines at The Temple for Performing Arts downtown and more recently opened a second store at the corner of 28th Street and University Avenue in West Des Moines.      Timbuktuu Coffee Cafe, a mainstay of the Shops at Roosevelt in Des Moines for seven years, closed at the end of August. Timbuktuu owner Charlie Bienert continues to operate a kiosk on the skywalk system downtown near EMC Insurance Group Inc.’s headquarters. The 42nd Street location “lacked the volume to make it operational,” Bienert said at the time.

Grounds for Celebration’s owners know the importance of location. In 2001, four years after the company was founded, they moved one of their coffeehouses from the Cobblestone shopping center at 86th Street and Hickman Road to its current location off Mills Civic Parkway. That experience taught Davis that coffeehouses needed to be near densely populated residential areas.

The fourth coffeehouse is likely to be Grounds’ final location, though owners are discussing the potential for licensed locations, Davis said. The company has 32 employees and plans to hire one full-time and at least two part-time workers to help with the new outlet.

After it opens, Davis said the company will focus on building its wholesale business, which provides freshly roasted coffee and Ghiradelli chocolate, among other items, to restaurants and coffeehouses throughout Greater Des Moines. Customers include Johnston’s Coffee Company, Bistro Montage, Cup o’ Kryptonite, Lip Service and the Varsity Cafe and Coffeehouse.

The wholesale business currently accounts for about 15 percent of Grounds’ sales. Davis said the company’s goal is for its wholesale business to reach 25 percent of sales.

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