It’s an aroma like no other, an opening to the day, a taste that fuels life, a pick-me-up for the midday slump. There’s nothing quite like the smell of coffee brewing — for the coffee drinker or for those who have lived with someone who lived for coffee. Coffee can conjure up forgotten memories, clear the cobwebs of the mind and offer solace amid chaos. And where better to experience such positive vibes than a local coffee shop like Grounded.
Grounded Coffee, owned by Ben Rothwell, pastor of Crosswalk Church in Newport News, was founded two and a half years ago when he and his wife moved from Williamsburg to Newport News. “I was raised here,” says Ben, “and felt like there was a lack of identity in the city. People thought of the area as a stepping stone to other things. I wanted to create a welcoming and open space in the city and to communicate that Newport News has great things to offer.”
Located on City Center Boulevard, Grounded offers coffee connoisseurs a place to congregate and create community. “We work hard to provide people with everything they need to spend the day, get work done, build relationships and feel welcome,” Ben says. The space is designed for networking and connecting with others. “We have food, a workspace and a place where people can buy a single cup of coffee and sit for hours,” Ben adds.
Business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, including realtors, insurance agents, print company owners, church pastors, heads of organizations and many others from different fields can find a safe space at Grounded within which to accomplish their professional and/or personal goals. “We have created a space where someone can come, sit, meet with five different people from five different backgrounds and never have to leave to get coffee, food, etc.,” Ben continues.
As Rothwell notes, whenever there’s an “economic blip,” coffee is often considered a luxury people can do without, making it low priority in budget allowances. As such, Ben and his wife do everything they can to make Grounded integral to the Newport News City Center community. “We want to set the temperature, not just be a thermometer that tells the temperature. As a thermometer, all we can do is give information but, as a thermostat, we set and change the temperature in the room; how things go at Grounded has everything to do with the attitude and atmosphere we create. We want to change the image of the city and communicate to people that they can be a part of the change they want,” Ben says.
Rothwell chose the name Grounded not only because of its clear affiliation with coffee grounds, but also to emphasize the importance of being firmly grounded in life. His own life as a pastor bears this. When he’s not at his church or at Grounded, he coaches CrossFit, spends time with his wife and four daughters, serves as a chaplain for the Newport News Police Department and works as an adjunct professor with Ascent College and Southeastern University. In other words, Ben Rothwell is grounded in the community and is sharing that perspective with the patrons of Grounded Coffee.