After 10 years of rooting itself in the East Hills community as both a staple and catalyst for growth in the Uptown business district, Sparrows Coffee Tea & Newsstand is expanding its Grand Rapids footprint with the opening of a second location at 442 Bridge St. NW.
“We’ve always been a community space that offers really good coffee, and we thought we could do that in a second location, as well,” says Sparrows owner Lori Slager Wenzel, who initially planned on moving into another Bridge Street space owned by her friend until plans fell through.
After a quick second round of searching, however, Slager Wenzel found the space at 442 Bridge St. and made things official, finding herself charmed by its history and likeness to her Wealthy Street space.
At 1,000 square feet, the new building space will seat up to 49 people, with renovation plans that include the installation of a new coffee bar and news rack with local and national newspapers and magazines. There will be the same menu as its Wealthy Street location, with the added offering of “cupping,” which is basically an educational process where customers can test coffee and learn about the different tastes and aromas.
“The space itself, the front of it, is not that much different. It’s got a similar feel to our Wealthy Street location with the wood floors that opens up in back to a larger space,” she says, though its little-known history as Station A for the 1930s-era Grand Rapids Postal Service was a happy surprise for Slager Wenzel and her employees, who did a little bit of digging into the 442 Bridge St. location's past online.
Although unfortunately the space doesn’t feature any recognizable relics from its past life, the history of the well-loved space is celebrated in its continued use by the people it was built for — the surrounding community.
“Part of what we love about our Wealthy Street building is the history of the space having been a hardware store,” she says. “We love that the Huizingas raised their six children right in the upstairs rooms.”
Though no official grand opening event has been announced just yet, the plan is to begin construction on the interior build-out in the next two to three weeks after the city planning commission approves all of the permitting and paperwork.
To learn more about both locations and to stay updated on its Bridge Street grand opening, visit The Sparrows online
or find them here on Facebook
Written by Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of The Sparrows Coffee Tea and Newsstand