Since 2015, Social Grounds Coffee not only gives you the highest-quality coffee but has set out to create opportunities for transitioning Veterans.
Owner, Jason Kelloway, shed light on his business and what sparked the idea.
“The idea [to start Social Grounds] came from an outreach ministry called Cup of Love, that my wife and I have been doing for seven years. We use coffee to reach the less fortunate and the homeless. When I saw the impact we were having and the conversations, I just knew it was the right thing to do — to create coffee and create ways to help us continue what we were doing to initiate change and make a difference.”
Their unique concept and goal to employ transitioning Vets and support locals stems from deep ties to the community.
“I was born here; I’ve grown up here,” says Kelloway. “I love my city. We are locally owned and roasted. We source specialty coffee, the highest grade coffee, and we roast it locally. I think that’s huge. The goal is to empower and employ transitioning veterans through each purchase. We are a Corporate Champion for Wounded Warrior Project. We are associated with Vets for Vets locally. We partner with Vets on Tap, and we are very entrenched with the veteran community here in our city. We also participate in ministry outreach for people in the inner city and give them hope. We love to tell people ‘thank you for making a difference in the lives of so many.’ We love to create an impact for change.”
It is pretty heartwarming to hear the background and story behind Social Grounds. On top of their work for veterans, they are also a Freedom Partner with Rethreaded, a company that helps to empower the survivors of human trafficking.
Mr. Kelloway is determined to make an impact on the community and wants his customers at Social Grounds Coffee to know that their products are made with plenty of time and effort to produce tasteful beverages.
“You are not only getting the highest in coffee, but it’s more than just that. It’s more than just a donut shop or café. Everyone is trained to use the machines and learn the science of extraction. We have everyone take out the sugars and syrups and just taste [the coffee]. Our honey is local, and we use a lot of local products to create this specialty coffee. We also locally source from Brew Five Points for our bakery. Lattés are our most popular drink. We sell more lattés than anything. We sell a lot of cold brew and chai too, which we make in-house.”
Guests at Social Grounds enjoy the warm and friendly atmosphere, with space to relax on the comfy couches or do work on a laptop.
The diversity at this coffee shop is also part of the backbone of this business.
“We are the most diverse coffee shop in Jacksonville,” shares Mr. Kelloway. “To me, black lives matter has mattered since before BLM started. I have always honored culture and ethnicity. If you know me, then you know our shop operates that way. We love people. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what you have, we love you. Just look at our location—you will see we are in the most diverse location, and it is so needed. People from everywhere feel welcomed, and they feel like they can buy from us. I want people to know that.”
Expansion plans for Social Grounds are underway, and, soon, visitors will have more ways to access their products.
“We will be opening a small shop in Bodega, right next to the Jaguar Stadium next month. It’s a real quick grab-and-go shop with a limited menu. We also want to expand the online purchases for the people that believe in what we’re doing—not using Amazon or ‘box’ stores but using us right here. This is a military town. We are asking for 1000 people to subscribe to a bag of coffee monthly. We have started veteran support meetings out of our warehouse, and we want you to buy into our vision to not only save the lives of veterans who are struggling but to also employ and empower them. For 500 bags monthly, we will create another position for a veteran who is transitioning who needs to be employed. That gives us the revenue to create the space for them. I want them here with us so they can feel the environment and achieve the goals they want to in life. We just need people to buy in and see our impact.”
If you have not visited Social Grounds Coffee, it is worth the trip to downtown Jacksonville to experience the business’ coffee and learn more about their societal contributions.
Social Grounds Coffee: 1712 Main St. N, Jacksonville, FL; socialgroundscoffeeco.com //@socialgroundscoffee