By Kimberly Sleeper
The sound of power tools, hammers, and sandpaper against 100 year old hardwood floor can be heard on the corner of 6th and Main Streets.
Eva Sander, a Seward native, is heading the revitalization of Neutral Groundz Coffeehouse along with six Concordia students and two alumnae.
Sander says her parents and others in the town began Neutral Groundz 15 years ago, focusing on “outreach and ministry.” As board members became older, events at Neutral Groundz became less frequent and less attended. Sander initially envisioned a community space for the town of Seward, and felt called to renovate the space of Neutral Groundz.
Interest around the community piqued, and Concordia students and recent graduates contacted Sander about how to help. The Neutral Groundz team, heading the recreation of the coffeehouse, includes Allie Brooks, Zach and Susie Moll, Beth and Nathan Toenjes, David Geidel, Ashley Canfield, Corinn Selander, and Eva Sander. The team is split into business and finance, product, design, and events subteams, with Sander heading everything.
Junior David Geidel, a business major at Concordia, is one of three members on the business and finance team.
Applying information and strategies learned in class has showed Geidel what starting a business truly means, “having a full, comprehensive business plan … is really beneficial.” Geidel says that, though challenging, involvement in the startup of a business has given him confidence for his future endeavors.
Neutral Groundz is a subsidiary of Bread of Life Ministries in Seward. Sander ultimately says the vision for Neutral Grounds is to be a place “of meeting needs.”
Few businesses in Seward are open at later hours–Neutral Groundz plans to be open until 10 or 11pm. Community events such as open mic nights and Bible studies will be hosted at the coffeehouse. Ultimately, Neutral Groundz aims to be exactly what their name states: an open gathering space for whatever individuals and groups in the Seward area need.
Neutral Groundz is set to open January of 2018 and will serve basic coffee drinks and local baked goods. Sander says there is always work to be done, particularly in renovating the building.
To stay updated with everything happening at Neutral Groundz, follow them on instagram @neutral.groundz or like their Facebook page “Neutral Groundz Coffeehouse.”