By Kimberly Agomou and Melanie Castell
Tompkins Avenue has a new place to hang and its name is the ‘Common Grounds’. The Common Grounds is a new caf‚/coffee shop that celebrated its grand opening July 16, 2007. The owner, Tremaine Wright, was all smiles as she cut the ribbon, welcoming the public to the opening of the caf‚. The grand opening turned out a large crowd who, after the ribbon cutting ceremony, hustled into the caf‚ looking to sample the menu.
Common Grounds is more than your typical coffeehouse, the caf‚ has a definite modern twist. It is decorated with plush couches, wooden table sets and a flat- screen television.
Its scenery is vibrant while maintaining an at- ease vibe.
Eating alfresco is also an option at Common Grounds. An outdoor area located in the back of the caf‚ is great for dining during spring/ summer days. This outback area is designed with marble stone pathways that lead to the eating tables. It’s a great way to relax while dining.
The menu is focused on coffees, smoothies and light food such as sandwiches, soups and salads but the menu doesn’t just stop there. The menu branches out to desserts ranging from ice cream to pastries. The caf‚ also serves fresh hot waffles that are delivered fresh and hot from the griddle to your plate.
The Common Grounds is a fantastic place to eat and relax, but places like this don’t happen overnight. And people don’t say they want to own a coffee shop out of the blue. So what inspired Tremaine to create the Common Grounds?
Tremaine noted that there weren’t a lot of gathering places in her community and she decided that she wanted that to change. And what better place to sit and relax than at a coffee shop? A lot of work went into opening the caf‚. It took Tremaine about five years to open up her own business. A large portion of that time went to finding the location of the future caf‚, but once she found her location it took about a year to pull things together. With the help of her architect and consultant, Tremaine turned the space into a beautiful caf‚ with a tranquil atmosphere and a yard for outdoor relaxation.
Tremaine also had help from the Bridge Street Development Corporation. BSDC’s primary goal is to assist in bettering the Bedford- Stuyvesant community. They help people obtain homes and start businesses. They helped Tremaine situate herself and they also assisted her with her grand opening. In attendance for the opening was Collette Gilpierre from the Bridge Street Development Corporation. Gilpierre saw firsthand how Common Grounds developed. Gilpierre spoke on what influenced her in helping with the coffee
“Tremaine had a vision for a long time. She was interested in purchasing a building and opening a caf‚ on the ground floor. She came to Bridge Street in need of assistance for her business plan and we assisted her on that. Bridge Street helped her with her business plan, with her opening and even getting the Borough President, Marty Markowitz here.” Celebrating Common Grounds is definitely commemorating advancement in the community. Common Grounds is a fresh and terrific new business that you definitely ought to visit.
Launching a business really keeps a person on her toes. The list of things to do to get a business up and running can make a person flinch. “It’s really tiring,” commented Tremaine. “Sometimes you feel on top of the world and sometimes you feel low, but it feels good and it’s exciting. You really learn a lot.”
Between BSDC and Tremaine, the grand opening was a success. The coffee shop has really come together, the space looks incredible and the food is phenomenal. But you won’t truly be convinced just reading about the Common Grounds. You’ve got to visit it. Its address is 376 Tompkins Avenue. They also have web site at http://www.commongroundsny.com/ for updates and events.