Editor's note: This story is part of Southwest Michigan Second Wave's On the Ground Battle Creek series.
Coffee and baked goods may be the focus at 32Social, but it’s what happens while eating and drinking that is most exciting to Jake Minear, senior barista and manager of the coffee shop.
32Social, located at 32 W. Michigan Ave., in Battle Creek is set for a soft opening Nov. 5 and a grand opening on Nov. 16 if everything falls into place, Minear says. Initial store hours will be 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We want this to be a place where people can interact whether it be a business meeting or getting together with friends,” he says. “We just are really seeing the need for it. People wanted a great cup of coffee and to hang out with friends.”
The coffee shop is owned by Battle Creek businesswoman Tara Hampton, who, according to Minear, originally wanted to open a health food store until she started hearing about the need for a coffee shop downtown. In addition to coffee, 32Social also will sell baked goods made by Dark Horse Brewing Co. in Marshall. The coffee that will be supplied by Populace based in Detroit.
A variety of food options will be added gradually, including healthy, workout-approved smoothies, light lunch options, and salads. Minear also mentioned the possibility of avocado toast and a pesto tart.
He says the shop is dedicated to supporting local providers and will be serving locally sourced food options.
“Our goal is to work with a lot of local partners to help the local economy,” Minear says. “We want to provide an education to Battle Creek about what good coffee is and bring us closer to the future to do what other cities are doing.”
Minear, who was born and raised in Battle Creek, says he thinks there is a renaissance going on in the city’s downtown area that will attract people. After living in Grand Rapids for four years while a student at Cornerstone University where he studied Worship Arts, he came back to Battle Creek because none of the jobs he was offered felt right.
He says there is a widely-held belief that people, especially in his age group, are leaving Battle Creek. That he chose to stay, prompted the question “Why”?
“Tara had that same question when she interviewed me,” Minear says. “I told her that like most people my age I didn’t imagine myself coming back to Battle Creek, but I saw this culture of revitalization that people want for this city.
“I think it’s really cool that I get to manage a coffee shop. Instead of moving out, I can stay and make my home anything I want it to be.”
Southwest Michigan Second Wave’s “On the Ground Battle Creek” series amplifies the voices of Battle Creek residents. In coming months, Second Wave journalists will be in Battle Creek neighborhoods to explore topics of importance to residents, business owners, and other members of the community. To reach the editor of this series, Jane Simons, please email her here or contact Second Wave managing editor Kathy Jennings here.