Handcrafted Hope

Handcrafted Hope

We know how capable our students are at NHA, and we are giving them another opportunity to display their creative sides through a new program called Handcrafted Hope.

We look through any disability and allow their ability to take hold to create festive Christmas ornaments made from the burlap coffee bean sacks from Special Grounds.

These will be on sale closer to the holiday season at Special Grounds.

Also each student in our high school and middle school are learning to sew their own bag to sell. They are also made from the coffee bean sacks from Special Grounds, and will be fully lined with a magnetic closure.

The students have chosen the fabric, cut the fabric, added a stabilizer fabric for strength, and added reinforced stitching to make a quality bag. One of our students, Auron, has also designed a tag. The back of the tag will be signed by who has made the bag, and will be attached to every bag.

They have been working very diligently in work study to accomplish this, so look for them soon as many are very near completion. 

Special Grounds Coffee Talk

Special Grounds Coffee Talk

Things have been very busy at Special Grounds the past few months we continue to be humbled and amazed at the outpouring of support and encouragement that we receive from the surrounding communities! Below are a few of the exciting things we wanted to share:

Special Grounds Turns 1 Year Old!

In September, we celebrated the cafe’s 1st birthday! It’s hard to believe that we’ve been open an entire year already. The time has flown by and we are amazed at all that our staff and kiddos have accomplished.

Cinnamon Rolls Are a Big Hit!

We have recently introduced a special offering to our bakery counter on Friday mornings: homemade cinnamon rolls! To say these cinnamon rolls have been a big hit would be a huge understatement. They are a huge labor of love and take three days to prepare everything from scratch. Every Friday morning, Jen brings out the first batch of freshly baked cinnamon rolls at 7:30 a.m. They’re so delicious and are usually sold out by 9:00 a.m.

NHA Staff Lunch Program

We received many requests from our staff at NHA from both campuses to come up with a way for them to order lunches from Special Grounds as they are unable to leave their students many times and go out for lunch on their own. Recently we’ve developed an employee portal where staff can order lunches once a week from the cafe. Students make and package these lunches on their specific days during their work study time. Students from the high school then get to pickup and deliver lunches to the NHA classrooms once a week.

Fundraising Season Kicks Off

Are you tired of doing car washes, selling candy or doing the same old boring fundraising activities to raise funds for your schools, clubs or churches? Here at Special Grounds we know what it takes to make people happy… and that’s coffee! We LOVE partnering with local schools, clubs and churches to develop unique FUNdraising programs centered around Special Grounds coffee. Contact Trishelle or Tara today to learn how Special Grounds can help you meet your fundraising goals with our fun and creative FUNdraising programs. 

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
Play Video
First Roast Complete
Play Video

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!