SOLID GROUND
FOR ALL

OUR STORY

The 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 The Commonplace as a community builder – a way to care for people through making beautiful coffees in neighborhood spaces.

We started The Commonplace in 2003, but the desire to be a part of coffee started in the mid-90’s. We both had our start in coffee at a coffee shop in Raleigh, NC, Cup a Joe. We worked in coffee shops through undergrad, seminary, and travel. 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 buses come in) we always looked for local coffee shops, but we found it very difficult to find a shop 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 culture – it had become so much a part of who we were as individuals and as a couple.

After an invitation to visit Indiana, PA we saw the connection to IUP as a great place to start a coffee shop in a small town, which was a part of our vision. We moved and started The Commonplace. Soon after starting the coffeeshop we began roasting coffee and were able to help other coffee shops open their own spaces as well as continuing to interact more and more with our own new community. Soon after, we knew we wanted to grow the culture of the community outside of the coffee bar, and have realized through the years that it is equally important to us to enhance the community behind the coffee bar. We seek to not only care for our community of regulars, but we wanted to build a family of baristas in Commonplace. We’ve always wanted our work life to be enmeshed with our life – no separate pieces. The goal with The Commonplace has been to create that space through coffee where people, whether it be our employees or customers, have a place and all the various parts of their lives can meet at a place of confluence. It is a place that can be accessible to everyone. As described in the namesake poem, The Commonplace aims to be solid ground for all. Now, 15 years later, with three young boys, almost 50 staff members and their families, six coffee shops, a roasting and wholesale operation, and bakery, and ENDLESS friends, customers and neighbors, we see The Commonplace continuing this vision for many years to come.

OUR CRAFT

At Commonplace we love when things are the 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, a lot of times you’ll 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. An understanding of the scientific concepts at work is essential to interpreting the materials we have at hand, and in this way craft is like art. Making coffee is no different. We use the artistic side to decide where we want to take our coffee, but we use the science behind the process to make the idea replicable and the best it can be.

Just like any other artists or scientists, we get excited about sharing our craft with others. We love having classes and events that show people how complex, surprising, and fun coffee can be. We hope that interests you too.

OUR FRIENDS

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 Friend 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 friend?

"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.