Coffee Shop Continues to Brew Up Possibilities

After being forced to shut down during COVID, Independent Grounds Cafe, which has a mission of employing adults with special needs, is celebrating its one year anniversary in a new location.

“It’s a miracle we’ve made it this far,” said Lorna McNeill, the owner of Independent Grounds Cafe, located at 30

61 George Busbee Parkway, Suite 2000, in Kennesaw. “We had a lot of help with the build-out of a new space but like so many small businesses have struggled to stay afloat in this new economy. So we’re extremely grateful to be here one year later.”

McNeill has skin in this game as small business owner. The single mom of two daughters, one of whom has special needs, is determined to give both daughters a solid foundation for their futures.

“This means so much to me as a mom but also as a female business owner,” McNeill said. “And it means so much to the families of the employees who have special needs. To be able to offer the opportunity for independence and the confidence to grow their skills is what gets me up in the morning to try all over again.”

It hasn’t been an easy road. McNeill is up against coffee empires like Starbucks and Dunkin whose drive-throughs stay full no matter the wait times. To combat this, Independent Grounds Cafe offers convenient online ordering and curbside delivery. The college students who live at the Bixby residential complex that surrounds the coffee shop receive delivery directly to their doors. But the coffee shop’s message of Inclusion Matters is not limited to just their physical surroundings.

“We serve locally-roasted coffee with all the bells and whistles of any of our competitors,” McNeill says. “But instead of filling the pockets of CEOs, you’re supporting families who actually live and work in your community.”

To celebrate their first year at their new location, Independent Grounds is offering $1 off all drinks on Tuesday.

Independent Grounds Cafe is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. and is located directly across from the Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University.

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