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Published: Monday, 7/31/2006

Shop perks up the daily grind

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Mark Peterson of Bowling Green enjoys a cup of coffee outside Grounds for Thought on Main Street. 
Mark Peterson of Bowling Green enjoys a cup of coffee outside Grounds for Thought on Main Street.
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BOWLING GREEN Customers can t overlook how much Main Street s Grounds for Thought has expanded over the years.

The Bowling Green coffeehouse and used-book store opened in 1989 in 1,200 square feet of space with 5,000 used books, numbers that since have multiplied to 7,000 square feet and 160,000 titles. Plus, standard fiction and romance paperbacks have been joined by history, philosophy, classics, vintage, and other books.

Around the corner, meanwhile, is a less visible but integral part of the business.

In a Wooster Street store, Grounds for Thought roasts quality coffee beans from around the world, some of which are further blended or flavored for the store and roughly 100 wholesale customers in Bowling Green and beyond.

Roasting was added in 1991 solely for the store but the service was expanded to customers about two years later. The business also supplies and helps fledgling coffeehouses get going.

Not only are we a retailer, we import and roast and produce our own product, said Kelly Wicks, a founder of the family business who owns it with his wife, Laura.

Mr. Wicks added, We ve been at this 17 years, and I feel like we re just getting started.

Co-owners Kelly and Laura Wicks have seen the store expand since 1989. Co-owners Kelly and Laura Wicks have seen the store expand since 1989.
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With seating for 100 scattered throughout the coffeehouse and bookstore, along with free wireless Internet connections and a meeting room, a variety of customers can be found at Grounds for Thought.

The business also has free monthly concerts during the school year, conducts book signings, is involved in downtown Bowling Green activities, and hosts visits from politicians and other events.

John Bick of Sky Bank in Bowling Green said he enjoys Grounds for Thought coffee on breaks, and he often meets there with clients for lunch and meetings. Mr. Bick said he has noticed that professionals tend to frequent the business in the morning, while students start coming in the afternoon.

So you ve got the suits and the piercings it s a very diverse group of clients, he said with a laugh.

Mr. Bick added: It s a great place to do business. It really is.

The shop sells a wide selection of fresh roasted coffees, as well as teas, muffins, scones, doughnuts, ice cream, cakes, pastries, and other desserts.

Sandwiches are made daily by Call of the Canyon Cafe in Bowling Green.

Roughly 1,000 books are added to the store s shelves every week, and they are obtained through both trades and sales. That portion of the business is managed by Mr. Wicks mother, Sandy Wicks, who helped found the store. The family drew upon elements of retail locations they frequented while traveling to cities such as Flagstaff, Ariz., and Lake Placid, N.Y., when they started Grounds for Thought.

On the wholesale level, coffee beans are meticulously hand roasted in small batches for restaurants throughout Bowling Green, Bowling Green State University, Toledo s Tony Packo s Cafe, and other customers.

BGSU s Falcon Blend, for example, is a custom mix of Costa Rican, Tanzanian, and Nicaraguan beans.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:jmckinnon@theblade.comor 419-724-6087.

Small Business Profile is a weekly feature on local companies. To be considered, send information about your company to Small Business Profiles, Business News, The Blade, P.O. Box 921, Toledo, Ohio 43697-0921.



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