It’s not an up-and-coming neighborhood without a coffee shop to bring everyone together. The Village Grind was an instant hit in The Village of West Greenville when it opened. To this day, each month is busier than the last.
Owner Lindsey Montgomery, a Greenville native, graciously took the time to sit down wth me and tell me about her lifelong dream to own a coffee shop and her journey in getting there.
Coffee played an incredibly important role in her family she told me. There was always coffee at her family gatherings. Her mom would make french presses or pour-overs for them in the morning before going to school… elementary school!
“I remember being very young and wanting to own a coffee shop,” Lindsey continued. “When I was in middle school, my friends and I were playing a game where we had to name the first word that came to mind after saying a color. At one point ‘purple octopus’ came up, and we all thought that would be a great name for a coffee shop.”
She laughed, “please remember, I was in middle school.”
“It stuck with me, though. In high school, I would doodle my purple octopus logo and lay out what my shop would look like. In art class I would sculpt art for the shop. My mind was set on what I wanted to do.”
Determined to make her dream reality, Lindsey piled on the workload and worked three jobs to save up money for her shop. It was during one of her shifts in 2014 when things got real.
“One day a customer randomly asked me what my dreams were, and I told her it was to open my own coffee shop. She said that was really great, and asked me where I wanted it. I told her I wanted it in The Village. Later that week, a Facebook friend of that customer messaged me, telling me that they wanted a coffee shop in The Village and she knew someone who had the keys to a space.”
She continued, “My dad and I visited the space. Even though I had been working so hard and saving up so much money, it still wasn’t enough. We had lunch afterwards and he told me to fight for it. ‘Don’t give up on it,’ he said. ‘See what happens. You never know what might happen.’ And I did.”
So she kept working and started writing out a business plan.
“One day I got a call from the girl who had the keys. Apparently the gentleman who owns that building was about to retire, and in his retirement he always wanted a coffee shop. So I sat down with Jim and Carl, I presented them my business plan, and we decided to become partners. I got my financial investors. Our business partnership is amazing, and I couldn’t be here without them.
Of course, Lindsey’s vision of opening a coffee shop was a lot easer than it was in reality. “ Getting supplies, furniture, a register system, the permitting, all of it was a lot of pressure and very stressful.”
What made it harder was that she was also wedding planning amidst all of this. “I do not recommend anyone do that, ever,” she said.
The Village Grind opened in January of 2015 and just celebrated their two year anniversary.
“My doors are open to everyone. It’s so cool to know that someone could walk from their house to get coffee. My goal is to love on anyone who walks into my shop.
The Village Grind supports local business owners by selling their products like pastries and nutrient bars. They use locally roasted Due South coffee beans and local farm milk. Their mugs are made by an artist who is a neighbor in the Village. Their countertop and pourer stand were custom made. “It was important to me to keep it in the community which is close to my heart,” Lindsey said. There’s almost nothing in the store that isn’t made by local artists and business owners.
As we were wrapping up I asked Lindsey to summarize her journey to entrepreneurship: “I can only attribute all of this happening to God. All of my previous jobs molded me and helped me establish myself as an entrepreneur. I’m an advocate of telling people about a dream, if you have one. If I hadn’t told people about it, I wouldn’t have The Village Grind.
And nether would we. I think I can speak for everyone on behalf of The Village of West Greenville and all of Greenville in saying thank you for that.