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Coffee house unveils event center

Musicians from the New Life Christian Church youth group play a song in the Upper Room at the Common Ground Coffee House in Alexandria Wednesday night. (Lowell Anderson | Echo Press)1 / 2
Members of the New Life Christian Church youth group gather in the corner of the Upper Room at Common Ground Coffee House in Alexandria Wednesday night. (Lowell Anderson | Echo Press)2 / 2

When Bill Jarvi opened Common Ground Coffee House in the lower level of a building on Hawthorne Street in Alexandria in September 2015, he also had plans for the building's upper level.

"I put together a group of advisors (when looking for a building) and they're the ones who found this place," Jarvi said. "They said, 'This is the place, Bill.' As soon as everyone came up here (to the second level), they saw a vision for it.'"

Before taking action on that vision, Jarvi wanted to establish a solid customer base and make sure everything went smoothly in the lower level.

Three months ago, he decided it was time to focus on readying the upper level, which is now open for community members to host group gatherings and small events for a fee of $50.

The area boasts a stage, seating for 70 people, a coffee bar and a group gathering area.

Over the three months of preparation, various local churches chipped in to make the vision a reality. In order to ready the upper level, volunteers removed a wall, waxed the floor, seal coated the walls, found a furnace and air conditioner and tracked down decor.

Some of the decor is made from old car parts, which came from various places in the community.

"Bob from BJ's Auto, he's got a couple Model As and he gave me the Model A parts and said to go ahead and put them up," Jarvi said. "We also had a car show in November and I talked to some of those guys and asked for some car parts."

So far, the space is being utilized by local churches and youth groups, and will even host a wedding in April. Jarvi says it is also a good space for events like birthday parties and showers, and he has more plans for the future.

"I'd like to have comedians come up here every so often, have kind of the dinner theater type atmosphere," he said. "I want it to be a unique place in town that no one else has."

If interested in utilizing the space, contact Common Ground at (320) 219-6239.

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

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