Special Grounds Coffee Talk

Special Grounds Coffee Talk

Our NHA students are home on their summer break… but that doesn’t mean things slow down for the staff at Special Grounds. Our June and July summer camps at Sara’s Garden have given new groups of kiddos from both the Wauseon and Springfield campuses the opportunity to shine out at the coffee shop.

Each week, students have had the opportunity to gain valuable vocational skills and opportunities working at Special Grounds. These kids continue to amaze us! From behind the scenes tasks such as labeling cups and stamping sleeves, to making sandwiches, breakfast burritos, salads and delicious pastries, to working up on the line and register in the cafe… they’ve done an absolutely amazing job and put a smile on the face of everyone they serve and have the opportunity to work with! 

Special Grounds Coffee Talk

Special Grounds Coffee Talk

At the beginning of the year, we began discussing the possibility of partnering with local schools, churches and non-profit organizations to develop fundraising programs to support their organizations that centered around coffee.

Typical fundraising programs promote the sale of food items (ie: candy bars, popcorn, pizza, cookie dough and various sweets). Most of these products are not locally made and come from large national wholesalers. Our hope was to create a program that would feature reasonably priced, locally sourced products that provided an amazing return on investment to the organization selling them.

Before we launched our fundraising plans, we were approached by Liberty Center Schools, who had been selling Special Grounds coffee to their school through their Tigers Breakfast and Brew Crew coffee cart. Every two weeks the LC crew loads up their carts with freshly brewed coffee from Special Grounds, hot chocolate, granola bars and donuts and begins filling and delivering orders across the district.

We developed a fundraising program for Liberty Center students to sell coffee to their friends and families. We even created a private label roast, called TIGER FUEL, specifically for Liberty Center schools to be the featured coffee in this program.

What an amazing experience this has been for all of us! Liberty Center Schools sold over 1,400 bags of coffee over the course of the past month, raising almost $9,000 for their school’s PTO.

A few LC students even had the opportunity to come tour the coffee shop and career center and helped label over 900 bags of the coffee they sold.

From start to finish, our coffee is not only benefiting the organizations with whom we partner, but it is also benefiting those individuals who are helping make the product!

Coffee Talk: Hope Brews at Special Grounds

Coffee Talk: Hope Brews at Special Grounds

Welcome to the January 2022 edition of Coffee Talk! Each quarter we hope to update everyone on what’s happening out at Special Grounds Coffee Co… from exciting new drink recipes and delicious food offerings, to fun events and giveaways. We are so blessed by your support of Special Grounds and are so thankful for what this project means for our kiddos at NHA.


On Saturday, Dec 11, 2021, 32 Wauseon Chamber businesses were part of the Wauseon Chamber of Commerce Ice Sculpting Event that featured Ice Creations with Chad Hartson and 4 other talented ice sculptors. Special Grounds Coffee was part of this event and it was fascinating to see how they sculpt the ice and how quickly they finished it.


This past month, the kids at NHA tried their hands at something new. We made espresso soap from our amazing espresso beans and it looks and smells divine! The first batch of bars were available for purchase right before Christmas and they were a huge hit as they sold out in just over a week. More soap is curing now and should be available soon!


In the middle of January, we will be releasing some new drinks in the coffee shop, including: a Pistachio Latte, a Toffee Blondie Latte, and a new Strawberry Banana Smoothie! We will also have a release of our new seasonal LTO flavored coffees. Stop in and check out our new merchandise. Follow us on social media for details and release dates!


Our sanctuary is finally complete and we couldn’t be more thrilled. The sanctuary offers the cafe’s customers additional seating in a beautiful and inviting environment. The cafe’s sanctuary is also available to rent for private parties and events. For more information on sanctuary rental please contact Tara or Matt at 419-335-7272 or via email at tarad@sarasgarden.org or mattr@sarasgarden.org.


Lastly, but most importantly… THANK YOU! Thank you to everyone who had a part in making this dream come true. Thank you to all of the contractors and suppliers for all of your help and hard work. Thank you to all of our customers for your amazing support and and positive feedback. Thank you to all of our staff for your tireless effort and amazing smiles and attitudes. Because of all of you we are able to provide a vocational experience to our kids that is beyond anything we ever dreamed! They have taken ownership in this little coffee shop in a way that we could never imagined. We are beyond blessed by all of you for support and love!

Special Grounds Project Update ~ Oct. 2021

Special Grounds Project Update ~ Oct. 2021

Special Grounds is officially open!

It look well over a year for us to finally say that, and we could not feel more blessed!

As with everything else in the world recently, complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic made this such a challenging project… from supply chain issues to contractor scheduling and availability. While these unforeseen factors may have caused delays in our progress, they couldn’t temper our excitement and joy for what this facility will provide to our students.

Our grand opening celebration was on Tuesday, September 14 and we are still in awe at the outpouring of support we’ve received from the community. Our students continue to stay busy putting labels on cups, stamping logos and writing thank you notes on coffee sleeves, baking the pastries and making the sandwiches and salads we are serving in the cafe.

Our drive through and indoor dining in the cafe are open from 6:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

Stop in and see us at 854 S. Shoop Avenue in Wauseon! We can’t wait to serve you!

Special Grounds Project Update ~ July 2021

Special Grounds Project Update ~ July 2021

We want to keep everyone informed on the status of our exciting new project, Special Grounds Coffee Shop.

We are SOOO CLOSE to being done with construction. The past month saw a tremendous amount of work completed.

  • Drywall is done and the walls have been painted.
  • Our new awnings over the drive up window and front entrance have been installed.
  • Counters have been installed and plumbing is being hooked up.
  • Ceiling grid is in and lights are being installed.
  • The kids have been hard at work helping our staff create delicious pastries to sample

Until we officially open, you can still order our delicious, locally-roasted coffees online for pickup or delivery right to your door! Our e-commerce website (SpecialGroundsCoffee.com) is up and running and ready to connect you with the most delicious coffee you will ever taste!

If you would prefer to purchase your coffee in person, we’ve got you covered for that that as well. We have been attending various Farmer’s Markets in the area and have received great response from these events. Below are the events we are currently scheduled to attend over the coming months:

  • July 15 – Perrysburg
  • July 15 & 16 – Wauseon Tent Sale
  • July 22 – Perrysburg
  • July 29 – Perrysburg
  • Aug 5 – Perrysburg
  • Sept 12 – Monarchs & More Family Fun Day (Sauder Village)

We are so grateful to the Roach Family Foundation for their amazing $10,000 grant for the purchase of equipment needed for the coffee shop!

Come out for some delicious, FREE samples and pick up a bag (or bags) of your favorite Special Grounds coffee!

Special Grounds Project Update ~ April 2021

Special Grounds Project Update ~ April 2021

We want to keep everyone informed on the status of our exciting new project, Special Grounds Coffee Shop.

Our new e-commerce website (SpecialGroundsCoffee.com) is now up and running! You can now order our delicious, locally-roasted coffees online for pickup or delivery right to your door! We have the following amazing coffees available for purchase:

All proceeds from this event will be used towards the purchase of therapy equipment for our clients and students at Sara’s Garden and New Horizons Academy. Sara’s Garden is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is the only facility in the United States to offer Autism Intervention, Conductive Education, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Sensory Integration and Speech-Language Pathology services.

Below is a list of the past golf outing sponsors that we would like to honor. Thank you for your support!

  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Ethiopia
  • Guatemala
  • Peru
  • Sumatra
  • Uganda
  • Awe, Nuts!
  • Blueberry Crumble
  • Cinnamon Buttercream
  • Coffee Cake
  • Cool Mint Creme
  • Hawaiian Macadamia Nut
  • Peppermint Pig
  • Pralines & Cream
  • Red, White & Blueberry
  • Toasted Macaroon
Premium Blends
  • Ind’Nile
  • Tall, Dark & Rich
  • Throat Punch
  • Wake Up Well
  • Awe, Nuts! Decaf
  • Blueberry Crumble Decaf
  • Cinnamon Buttercream Decaf
  • Coffee Cake Decaf
  • Colombia Decaf
  • Cool Mint Creme Decaf
  • Guatemala Decaf
  • Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Decaf
  • Peppermint Pig Decaf
  • Pralines & Cream Decaf
  • Red, White & Blueberry Decaf
  • Sumatra Decaf
  • Toasted Macaroon Decaf
  • Top of the Morning Decaf

Progress continues on our actual coffee shop storefront renovations. We hope to be up and running with the fully operational coffee shop and drive up window by the end of summer.

Please continue to keep an eye out for our Special Grounds Coffee Shop Grand Opening invitation and announcement. We look forward to seeing you and serving you there!

Special Grounds Project Update ~ Jan. 2021

Special Grounds Project Update ~ Jan. 2021

We want to keep everyone informed on the status of our exciting new project, Special Grounds Coffee Shop.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the project down and pushed back the timeline for when we wanted to be up and running. However, progress continues to be made and exciting milestones are being reached. It is so exciting to see how things are beginning to take shape. Here are some recent updates:

  • Our roasting room is painted. New flooring has been put down and the roaster is all unpacked and ready to go. We are now ready to begin our roasting process which will allow us to master our roasting profiles.
  • We had water damage in our training kitchen due to issues with the old pipes in the walls. Unfortunately, when we tried to remove the old cabinets, which had been built in place, we damaged them. We decided to gut all of the old kitchen cabinetry and start fresh. For now, the training kitchen houses our new espresso machine and is being used as a coffee lab as we work to provide our customers with amazing blends and recipes.
  • Our new drive up window has been installed and the coffee shop exterior has been wrapped with beautiful new siding.
First Roast
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First Roast Complete
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Please continue to keep an eye out for our Special Grounds Coffee Shop Grand Opening invitation and announcement. We look forward to seeing you and serving you there!

Special Grounds Coffee Shop, Event Center & Career Center Opening Soon!

Special Grounds Coffee Shop, Event Center & Career Center Opening Soon!

Sara’s Garden is pleased and SO excited to announce the opening of its Special Grounds Coffee Shop, Event Center, and Career Center at 854 S. Shoop Avenue in Wauseon! The new Career Center is scheduled to open August 19 with the start of New Horizons Academy’s school year while the Special Grounds Coffee Shop and Event Center will open this fall, staffed by many of our special needs high school students.

During a normal school year, it is always challenging to find vocational placements for our special needs high schoolers; and this year is anything but normal. With higher unemployment rates in Northwest Ohio and so many public health restrictions due to the coronavirus, this year could have been a vocational placement and employment nightmare; instead, it is a dream come true! With the purchase of the former First Baptist Church , NHA now has its very own built-in vocational options.

Over half of the building is being converted into a Career Center with classrooms and skills labs for our New Horizons Academy students which will promote vocational training and employment. Education and training will include daily life and personal care skills, basic reading and math literacy, employment readiness with customer service and socialization activities, and vocational education and training in such areas as food preparation, cooking, cleaning, gardening, landscaping, event prep, catering, coffee roasting and packaging, and woodworking. For more information on enrolling a special needs student in New Horizons Academy’s Career Center or to schedule a tour, call Admissions Coordinator Ronda Rupp at 419-335-7272 or email rondar@sarasgarden.org.

Special education students up to age 21 (and hopefully young adults after they get out of school) will progress from learning basic life skills to practicing in the skills labs to eventually working in our Special Grounds Coffee Shop and Event Center. The Event Center will be available for individual, family, and business rentals for weddings, conferences, workshops, and other special events; and best of all, our special needs students will be setting up, tearing down, and cleaning the facilities. They will get built-in event prep and cleaning experience. Please consider supporting our special needs students by hosting your next event with us. For more information on the Event Center, its reception hall, kitchen, and large event space, call Sara’s Garden’s Administrative Assistant Katie Helberg at 419-335-7272 or email katieh@sarasgarden.org.

The most exciting aspect of this facility is the fully functional Special Grounds Coffee Shop, staffed by many of our special needs high school students. The coffee and pastry shop should open this fall. Our plan is to source fair trade coffee beans and roast our own delicious blends of coffee in-house, providing amazing vocational opportunities for our students. This fall, please stop in and support our special needs students and get a great cup of coffee or if you are in a hurry, use our drive-up window for your caffeine fix. All proceeds will be used to support special education services through New Horizons Academy and Sara’s Garden. Please keep an eye out for our fall Special Grounds Coffee Shop Grand Opening invitation and announcement. We look forward to seeing you and serving you there!

Something Special is Brewing

Something Special is Brewing

This crazy time of staying home and social distancing has definitely changed how we live, work and play. However, it hasn’t diminished the passion that we have for serving our clients, families and students. We’ve been working on something very exciting… and we can’t wait to spill the beans!

One of the biggest challenges we face in our PACE transitional program efforts is finding appropriate vocational experiences for our students. We are so thankful to the local businesses and organizations who have partnered with us to provide opportunities for our students to work. However, even when we are blessed to find placements for students to work, it can be challenging for our staff to transport students from job site to job site across the four-county area providing the necessary job coaching support. Additionally, when a student ages out of our PACE program we are no longer able to provide the much needed guidance our families often need.

To that end, we are finalizing plans to open our own career center this fall. This facility will offer many different vocational opportunities for our students… all under one roof. It will also be a place where our students can continue working even after they graduate from NHA. The building will feature labs and classrooms for vocational training. It will be available to the community for individuals and businesses to rent for weddings, conferences and special events. The most exciting aspect of this facility is that it will feature a fully functioning coffee and pastry shop with a drive-up window!

Our plan is to source fair trade coffee beans and roast our own delicious blends of coffee in-house, providing amazing vocational opportunities for our students… including roasting, packaging, shipping and stocking. From food preparation to catering… cleaning services to facility setup and tear down… we are so excited for the exciting opportunities that this facility will provide!

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available!

Don’t Worry. Be Healthy.

Don’t Worry. Be Healthy.

For most of us, we are going though one of most, if not the most, crazy, disruptive times of our entire lives. Our jobs, homes, schools and families are hanging in limbo, suspended in uncertainty. What are we to do?

Have you lost sleep worrying about what could happen? Has worrying and stress about these uncertain times interrupted your life? Your day? Your family? Your mood?

If you answered “yes”, rest assured you’re not alone.

Worry and stress happen to all of us, particularly when it comes to events, people, and things that are important to us. The trouble with worry is it is a complete waste of our valuable time and energy. We all know that… yet we still worry.

“Worry is the advanced interest we pay on troubles that seldom come.”

Worry and stress are huge risks we face. And they’re not healthy. The list of damage that worry can do, because of the biology of stress, is long and scary.

Worry (feeling threatened to any degree) is stress. It sets off a fight or flight survival response, which triggers all sorts of physiological changes in our bodies. The systems more important for immediate survival, like blood pressure and heart rate to circulate more energy throughout the body, get turned up, and the ones not so important for immediate survival, like our immune system or digestion, get turned down.

  • Persistently elevated blood pressure and heart rate raises your risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • A depressed immune system makes it harder for your body to fight off all sorts of diseases, or battle them once you do get sick.
  • Stress reduces the protective fluids in the lining of the digestive system exacerbating the risk and severity of ulcers and other digestive disorders.
  • Stress changes blood chemistry, and if persistent, those changes raise your risk of diabetes.
  • Those chemistry changes are also why chronic stress is associated with greater likelihood of clinical depression.
  • Chronic stress impairs the formation of new fast-growing cells, like bone, and hair.
  • Chronic stress reduces your ability to form some new memories, and recall others.

Consider the following words from the apostle Paul, who was writing under very difficult circumstances. He was under house arrest. There was the possibility that he might be acquitted, or he might be beheaded. He didn’t know what his future held. Yet he gave us some of the most inspiring words found in scripture: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:4-6).

Paul wasn’t sitting in some plush resort, writing motivational texts. He was not lounging on some beach, sampling delicious foods and wines. This was a man who was incarcerated, waiting on a verdict that could literally mean life or death. Yet he was somehow able to say, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”

Many of us have been experiencing some pretty significant physical, emotional and spiritual challenges the past few weeks.

In Psalm 23, David speaks of how God is with us, even when we go through trials or valleys in our lives: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me”.

Like Paul, David was no stranger to calamity and hardship. This was a man who knew what it was like to suffer. He knew what it was like to face difficulties. He had been hunted like a wild animal by King Saul, even after being anointed as the next king of Israel by the prophet Samuel.

When David brings us this and other psalms, he candidly speaks of his own shortcomings, weaknesses, and questions he faced in life. Psalm 23 came from a man who knew what it was like to need God’s help.

We all go through those valleys in life, those hard times. Whatever valley it is, remember this: You are not alone. That is God’s great promise to the believer.

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

The next time you are gripped by fear and worry, the next time you start thinking, “What if this happens? What if that happens?” turn it into a prayer. Look to Jesus and trust Him give you His peace.