SOLID GROUND
FOR ALL

OUR STORY

Julie and TJ Fairchild started Commonplace in 2003, but their desire to be a part of coffee started in the mid-90’s…

We both had our start in coffee at Cup a Joe in Raleigh, North Carolina. We worked in coffee shops through undergrad and grad school. We fell in love with coffee in college. Not just coffee but the coffee shop culture: a place like no other, no rush to leave, quiet time to read, study, reflect, or time to socialize with others, meet new people – it opened our world. As we traveled, (this is where those VW buses come in) we always looked for local coffee shops, but we didn’t always find places that we felt did a good job of making good coffee and providing the atmosphere we envisioned. We had an understanding of what we loved about coffee culture and wanted to create it elsewhere. We knew we never wanted to leave coffee – it had become so much a part of who we were as individuals and as a couple.

Commonplace was born out of a desire to love coffee and love people. We fell in love with coffee as much as we loved serving it to people. We see coffee as a way to build community; as such, we see Commonplace as a community builder – a way to care for people through making beautiful coffees in neighborhood spaces.

After an invitation to visit Indiana, Pennsylvania, we saw the connection to the local university, aptly named Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), and the small town community as a great place to start a coffee shop. It fulfilled a vision for us, and so we moved and started Commonplace. Soon after opening the coffeeshop, we began roasting coffee and were able to help other local coffee shops open their own spaces. We also continued to grow and interact more and more with our own new community. We knew we wanted to have a positive impact on the culture of the community outside of the coffee bar just as much as the one on the inside. We have realized through the years that it is equally important to us that we enhance the communities and neighborhoods where our shops reside.

The goal with Commonplace has been to create a space through coffee where people, whether it be our employees or customers, feel welcome and all the various parts of their lives can meet at a place of confluence. A place that can be accessible to everyone. As described in the namesake poem, Commonplace aims to be solid ground for all. Now 16 years later, with three young boys, more than 50 staff members and their families, eight coffee shops, a roasting, equipment service, training and wholesale operation as well as a bakery and ENDLESS friends, customers, and neighbors, we see Commonplace continuing this vision for many years to come.

OUR CRAFT

At Commonplace, we love when things are the very best version they can be. When we aren’t behind bar, roasting coffee, fixing espresso machines, or the many other things that happen within Commonplace, you’ll often find us making things at home and in our communities. We’re potters, carpenters, painters, knitters, illustrators, cooks, mechanics, and so much more.

Craft can be considered the meeting place of art and science. To us, the term “craft” applies directly to the process of making coffee. We use the artistic side to decide where we want to take our coffee, and the science behind the process to make the idea replicable and the best it can be. Just like other artists and scientists, we get excited about sharing our craft with others. We love hosting classes and events that show people how complex, surprising, and fun coffee can be. We hope you think it’s fun too! 

OUR PARTNERS

People are the heart of everything we do. From a barista behind the bar to someone with dreams of opening their own shop to our community that lives in the neighborhoods where we serve coffee: without these people, Commonplace wouldn’t exist. We love when we can take things we’re passionate about – making great coffee, eating food together, riding bikes, building things, and so much more – and do it with people we love. That’s what Commonplace is all about. Being a partner of Commonplace means that you probably feel that same. We work on projects, both on the clock and off, with friends that love working hard, being a good neighbor, and having fun. Do you want to be our partner?

Learn More

"THE COMMONPLACE"

BY WALT WHITMAN

The commonplace I sing;
How cheap is health! how cheap nobility!
Abstinence, no falsehood, no gluttony, lust;
The open air I sing, freedom, toleration,
Take here the mainest lesson—less from books—less from the schools,
The common day and night—the common earth and waters,
Your farm—your work, trade, occupation,
The democratic wisdom underneath, like solid ground for all.