DURAND — Two months after closing, Stomping Grounds coffee shop in downtown Durand reopened Thursday with new owners, Jacquie and David Forrest.
As the restaurant filled with customers Thursday morning, the Forrests joined family members, friends and fellow business owners outside the door at 200 N. Saginaw St. for a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Greater Durand Area Chamber of Commerce.
“People have been very excited to see it open back up. There’s a need for a coffee shop here,” said attendee Lori Childs, new president of the Durand Downtown Development Authority. “It’s exciting to see people investing in downtown Durand.”
Both David and Jacquie Forrest are graduates of Durand High School.
“Jacquie and I graduated together, and I love home-town ownership,” said attendee Blair Pancheck, who co-owns Shaw’s Pharmacy with husband Mark Pancheck. “They both grew up in Durand and care enough to keep something like this going.”
It’s true that the Forrests care about Durand. It’s also a fact that Jacquie Forrest loves coffee. She said she made Stomping Grounds a hangout when it was owned by Nikole and Ernie Hartzell, and performed administrative and kitchen work there.
The Hartzells closed the shop in February. They had purchased it at the end of 2017 from original owners Sherry and Jason Rathbun, who started up the business in 2015.
Jacquie Forrest said she left her job for Flint Township last year, not knowing she was on the path to owning Stomping Grounds. After the Hartzells announced their plan to close the shop, Jacquie discussed the possibility of purchasing the business with her husband. He agreed.
David Forrest has a full-time job but plans to work at Stomping Grounds on the weekends. Jacquie Forrest will handle the day-by-day operations, she said.
“I have the old staff, and they’re training me,” she said with a chuckle. “They’re showing me the ropes, the procedures and plans for things like what to do when there’s a line of customers.”
She said everything at Stomping Grounds will remain the same except for the addition of a vegetarian sandwich and possibly other types of sandwiches. Otherwise, she said, her staff is using Nikole Hartzell’s old recipes.
“(Nikole) created something really fantastic in this town and I just want to continue it,” Jacquie Forrest said, adding that Hartzell is helping out in the coffee shop to make the transition smooth.
Day One was promising.
“I unlocked the doors at 6:30 a.m. this morning,” Forrest said. “My first customer was here at 6:10.”
Stomping Grounds filled up quickly, and several customers joined in the ribbon-cutting at 9:30 a.m. Candice Wolsfeld announced how thrilled she was that Stomping Grounds was back in the Chamber family, and that the shop had been missed.
Jacquie Forrest, noting that Thursday was the National Day of Prayer, led the group in a prayer that focused on community and family, coming together and loving each other.
“We will embrace the new owners just as we embraced the old owners,” Wolsfeld said. “I’ve seen the cinnamon rolls — they look wonderful.”