Escape the buzz: Gathering Grounds' The Study offers haven for work or relaxation

When Lea Wechter launched the Gathering Grounds Coffee House in 2014, she admittedly didn’t know a ton about the coffee business from an owner’s perspective. What she did know, however, was that, from a customer’s perspective, there are three main ingredients to making a coffee shop successful.

“I knew when I first started, I wanted to serve the best product, like I knew the coffee had to be good,” she says. “I knew that we needed the best customer service, and then the best atmosphere. So it was all-encompassing. I didn’t want to miss on any one of those.”

Gathering Grounds is poised to celebrate its 10th anniversary in Huron late this year. But Wechter is not resting on any laurels.

What’s new: Late in 2023, Gathering Grounds introduced The Study, an adjacent space intended mostly for private events but that is open to the public every day until 3 p.m. unless reserved for an event. Wechter is a self-described interior designer of sorts, and the adults-only space is fashioned with mostly second-hand furnishings intent on giving it a grown-up vibe.

The Study is intended mostly for private events, but is open to the public until 3 p.m. unless otherwise reserved.It caters to those who want to work, relax, or simply disconnect in an environment largely free from the distractions of a typical coffee shop.

“My grandparents had a study,” Wechter says. “And the study didn’t have a TV in it. When you went in there, you could read books or hang out with friends. But it wasn’t meant for lots of stimulation. It was meant for a place to go to calm down, relax, as if you’re in a library.”

What’s not new: Gathering Grounds is not Wechter’s first foray into owning a business. She has a business degree and has tried her hand at a few ventures. She said she knows the Huron community well as a result, and that the local community has embraced Gathering Grounds, to which she attributes the company’s success.

The Study got its start primarily because the space next door’s lease was up, and Wechter wanted more room for people to hang out, especially with a newly expanded kitchen. And Wechter, while serving up coffee and a more extensive menu, enjoys providing such a place. She seems to have a passion for it, in fact.

“I still, to this day, tell people ‘Do what you love, and try to make money at doing it,’ “Wechter says about her approach to entrepreneurship. “I loved being in these community spaces where people could gather and had a really nice atmosphere.”

What’s next: On March 22, Gathering Grounds – and, by extension, The Study – will make available its “Soulfuel” menu of new drinks. They’re going to be kind of like mocktails but aimed at promoting wellness. Infused with adaptogens, which are used in herbal medicine to stabilize physiological processes and enhance homeostasis, the new drinks will endeavor to supply your body’s needs, rather than deplete them, as alcohol does.

“You can fuel yourself without the regret of the hangover,” Wechter says.

How to get involved: For menus, event information – including reserving space for private get-togethers – you can visit the Gather Grounds website and check out their Facebook page.