Owner hopes Stompin' Grounds Cafe will become a community hangout in Lake Zurich
Owner hopes new Lake Zurich cafe will become a community hangout
After completing runs around Lake Zurich, Laura Cison used to reward herself with a treat from a bakery in a little strip center facing the water.
But like some other businesses in the traditional downtown area known as Main Street, the bakery closed.
"For the last three years there was nothing. It was sad," Cison said of the space on North Old Rand Road across from Breezewald Park.
Cison decided to change that when she retired from an executive job in digital signage and brand decor and opened Stompin' Grounds Cafe, which debuted Thursday at 4 N. Old Rand Road.
"We were excited there is something new and different," customer Jaclyn Clarke said Thursday. The Lake Zurich resident and her husband, Joe, had seen activity in the vacant space and made sure to stop on opening day.
The name reflects Cison's hope the coffee house/bistro becomes a community gathering place in an area that could use a boost.
The idea for an independent shop featuring organic, natural and locally sourced products began percolating about a year ago.
Cison hired Michael Shipley, managing partner of Conscious Cup Coffee Roasters, as a consultant to help plan, design and build the cafe. Conscious Cup has shops in Crystal Lake, Cary, Barrington and Libertyville.
Cison, who also teaches Pilates and yoga, incorporated the business as Akhando Hum Inc. in January.
"Mantras are important to me," she said. "Akhando hum means you are limitless."
It also reflects a determination to proceed as an independent business rather than a franchisee with guidelines to follow.
"I wanted to be nimble," Cison said.
And she has had to be. The pandemic hit just after she incorporated, making it impossible to get a loan and difficult to secure equipment and employees. A planned July opening date came and went.
"COVID definitely slowed me down," she said. But once the process started rolling, Cison said, she wasn't going to stop.
"No matter what, it's still a gamble," she said. "A lot of money went into it, and there are no investors, no loans."
Stompin' Grounds features Conscious Cup coffee blends, as well as craft tea, organic juices, natural smoothies, treats and light breakfast fare.
Other offerings include items like handmade candles, locally sourced honey, free-range eggs by the dozen, nondairy spreads and bottles of wine.
"My whole goal is to provide local and small businesses an outlet," Cison said.
Assistant Lake Zurich Village Administrator Roy Witherow said the village has been trying for years to improve the Main Street area and create an experience for residents.
"All of a sudden there are three definite and potentially two new businesses coming online," he said. "We're very excited and enthused."