Andrew Lemon manages Common Grounds Coffee on Wayne Avenue. It serves coffee, sure, but he wants it to be so much more.
“We want this to be a place for the community,” Lemon said. “We want to be that third place in the community.”
Lemon is referring to an idea first proposed by author Ray Oldenburg in his book “The Great Good Place” and later popularized by Starbucks.
The idea is that if home is the first place people exist and work is the second, “third places” act as anchors in a community. They give people a sense of place.
“This is a place where you can hang out and meet people,” Lemon said. “We want to be a blessing to the community.”
In that vein, Common Grounds has opened its doors to local performance artists, and it hosts an open mic every Friday night.
“We get a lot of local artist in here to perform. There’s a lot of spoken word poetry, and a lot of the artists are from Germantown and Mt. Airy,” Lemon said.
Lemon added, “That’s actually how we got this thing started.
Common Grounds is located at 6224 Wayne Avenue, before it was a coffee house it was a church from 2001-2005, Lemon estimates.
After that congregation closed, Lemon’s church in Wyncote, Penn., purchased the space. For awhile it was a community center. It offered after school programs.
“We had no plans for a coffee shop,” Lemon said. “It just kind of happened.”
Starting in Sept. 2010, the church would open the doors of the facility on Fridays for coffee, snacks and live music.
Slowly, it grew into what it is today.
Even though it’s owned by a church, Lemon says that the majority of the performers that come in don’t have a religious message.
“I would say 90 percent of the people that come in here aren’t religious in anyway,” Lemon said. “This isn’t a place you’ll be preached at.”
“People like the space,” Lemon said. “I’m just trying to get the word out, increase visability.”