Juneau’s newest coffee shop has a name, thanks to a crowdsourcing effort, and is holding its grand opening today.
Sacred Grounds Coffee Shop, located in the Andrew Hope Building, has been open since April but is welcoming Juneauites in from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday for a ribbon cutting, free food, drinks and prizes. The first 50 customers will get a gift bag of coffee-related items.
The name Sacred Grounds came from a public naming contest that was open to anyone in the community. About 170 submissions came in, with a variety of creative names such as Sovereign Tea &Coffee, but Central Council Tlingit Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA) President Richard Peterson said Sacred Grounds was too good to pass up.
“Being Alaska Native, ‘Sacred Grounds’ really plays (well) with us,” Peterson said, “and then the double entendre … it just had one of those charming rings to it.”
Peterson was one of four CCTHITA officials who went through the name suggestions and made the choice. The others in the group were Property Manager Elias Duran, Deputy Chief Operating Officer Ken Truitt and Communications Coordinator Raeanne Holmes.
The shop features free wi-fi, a 15 percent military discount and a 10 percent discount for all local, state and federal government employees. It also has a walk-up window where pedestrians walking along the Willoughby Avenue sidewalk can stroll up and order coffee. Soon, the shop will have an outdoor seating area. Sacred Grounds is selling store-bought snacks at the moment, but Peterson said the shop will eventually make its own food.
The house blend is a special one from Skyaana Coffee Co., a Native-owned roaster located in Klawock. Syaana won the 2016 Path to Prosperity Contest, which honors Southeast Alaska entrepreneurs and businesses. Skyaana is the Haida word for “to be awake,” and its coffee does the trick, Peterson said.
“We’re really proud of it,” Peterson said. “It’s great coffee. We have really great baristas already.”
There’s more than just coffee at the shop, though, as Sacred Grounds features a new drink every day. This Thursday’s special was a “chocolate strawberry,” made of white chocolate powder, strawberry, white milk and chocolate milk combined with two or three shots of espresso.
Sacred Grounds is part of the CCTHITA effort to increase employment training and opportunities for tribal citizens. Along with Sacred Grounds, CCTHITA is running a coffee shop at the tribe’s Vocational Training &Resource Center on Hospital Drive. That location includes barista training, which is available both online and in person.
In addition to those two shops, Peterson said CCTHITA would want to add another one down the line. CCTHITA is working to get a cultural immersion park off the ground, where visitors can learn more about Tlingit and Haida culture. Though it’s still a long ways away (Peterson said they hope to have it open by 2019), it would likely include a third coffee shop, bringing more jobs to tribal citizens and bringing more coffee to town.
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