BY JESSALYN KIRCHHOFF
Breathe Coffee House is more than a run-of-the-mill coffee joint. Founder of Breathe Patrick McGinnis explained the reasoning behind the decision to call it a “coffee house”.
“I’m not sure what the physical difference is between a coffee house and a coffee shop, but I knew when I created this place that I didn’t want people to just shop for coffee,” he said. I wanted everyone to walk in the door and for this environment to feel like home to them.”
McGinnis went on to explain the origin of what has now become a household name in the community.
“Along with feeling at home by making this a coffee house, one of the reasons I named it Breathe is because I envisioned everyone walking through that door and taking a deep breath. I wanted people to sit down and be able to just breathe,” McGinnis said.
Rather than how most businesses are created in the venture of capital, Breathe was built on the basis of a non-profit organization, Dialog Ministries, and is a solution to what McGinnis sees as the world’s biggest problem right now – connecting with others.
McGinnis was originally in college pastoral ministry, but struggled with the traditional lecture and listen church environment.
“Kids are in school all day being lectured to, the last thing they want to do after school is be lectured to some more,” he said. “I felt like the conventional church conditions weren’t allowing me to do what I sought out to do which was to teach people how to interact with each other and create opportunities based off of those connections.
“I wanted to create a safe place for people of all walks of life to share their concerns, comments, and questions face to face. I wanted anyone and everyone to feel comfortable walking through the door and bridge those gaps in society,” McGinnis continued. “People don’t have the chance to just sit and talk anymore. They’d rather ‘interact’ on social media, computers, or cell phones. The worst of it is when two people disagree on something, they take to the internet and bash each other on social media instead of embracing the differences.”
Taking all of those wants into consideration, McGinnis had to figure out what he could create that could possibly achieve all the goals he had set. Breathe Coffee House was the answer.
“I decided coffee was the best way to connect a diverse group of people. Whether you’re 27 or 72, rich or poor, from near or far, you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee,” he said. “In order for people to find their friends and community, the coffee house needed to produce really really good coffee and generate a cool place to hang out.”
As for the menu at Breathe, contrary to popular belief, it’s not all coffee. McGinnis expands on this saying there is a little bit of something for everyone saying this summer the basic lattes, bizarre menu and newly added crepes have been a crowd favorite.
“We also have summer drinks like the fresh squeezed lemonade and there will be new food coming out in August – new crepes and new scones – so keep an eye out for those items.”
Breathe’s full menu can be found on their website.
Also new at Breathe is their blossoming Sleeve Project which consists of a few questions on a hot coffee sleeve that patrons can scribble answers on and bring back for the next person. Not only is it a creative way to recycle coffee sleeves, but it is an interactive way to learn something about someone else.
“The Sleeve Project is a way for us to connect people together and to challenge the community with questions when they are getting a coffee to go,” McGinnis said.
In the future, the Sleeve Project is looking to extend its borders by partnering with other coffee gathering spots and adding questions on the sleeves more organized around mental health.
Although the Sleeve Project is new, engaging within the community is a continuous occurrence at Breathe. Breathe hosts a number of community activities such as Can We Just Talk?, the monthly Mug Club, the Coffee Club, the Community Meal, and Pay it Forward. All of these projects are described in detail on their website.
As for the future of Breathe, McGinnis is looking to have a counseling center hooked to the coffee house.
“As of this past spring, I am licensed as a Master of Clinical Social Work. I’m beyond excited to facilitate getting people in front of each other to talk,” McGinnis said. “I know young people are struggling. I can’t simply sit back and watch it. I want to branch a counseling center off of Breathe to lower the stigma on mental health so that people can get an easy referral to the professional assistance that they need.”
In closing words, McGinnis urges everyone to take the time to visit with each other and slow down for a few hours.
“Come to Breathe. Make your daily cup of coffee mean something.”