Common Ground in Cashton
Updated: Jan 8, 2019
When the thing you want doesn't exist, sometimes you have to just make it yourself. That's the sort of initiative and spirit behind Common Ground, a pop-up coffee shop in Cashton, WI.
First, what is a pop-up shop? Pop-up shops are part of the trend to offer unique shopping options or dining experiences in a local area. Typically, a pop-up shop is a small business that does not usually operate out of a brick-and-mortar store and "takes over" a space for a short time. Think, online businesses or independent artists. Occasionally, pop-up shops are hosted by chefs or other food producers to offer a limited edition menu in a unique location.
Common Ground is a bit different. It was not born out of a need to sell a product, but rather a need to create an experience. It is not a business: visitors are encouraged to donate whatever they feel is appropriate. It's community focused and cooperative: folks bring their own treats to share and often print copies of the recipes to encourage others to try it at home. The goal is to get people talking, engaging, and having fun in a positive environment. The positive vibes can be felt in everything the group says about itself and its development:
"All are welcome! Without a restaurant roof over our head, we decided to “pop-up” at various locations within our community so people could gather for a good cup of local Kickapoo Coffee or tea and share in conversation, fellowship, and the meeting of new people.
Started in the summer of 2017 we currently meet regularly twice a month at the Cashton Memorial Library (2nd Tuesday & 4th Wednesday). We also love to host occasional events at other locations and/or times. Our venues are organizations that share our goal of welcoming and building up people. As we grow, we hope someday to have a permanent roof over our head where all are welcome to enjoy a cup of coffee, tea and so much more."
We asked Common Ground facilitator Emma Mason what her biggest surprise was after starting the coffee pop-up in 2017:
"I think the biggest surprise is the way everyone steps up and owns it. People want to serve as much as be served. People bake and people engage each other in conversation and enjoy getting to know each other without having to have that facilitated."
Her dreams for the future of Common Ground? No surprise, more coffee time!
"I would love Common Ground to have longer hours so it can meet more people more of the time. And I would like to be able to resource people more. I feel there should be a way to hook people up more with other people or activities that can enrich their lives. I hope to figure that out more. "
Events are posted on Facebook and widely distributed by devoted Common Ground enthusiasts. Upcoming dates for Common Ground Pop Up Coffee Shop can be found on Facebook or the Cashton Community Calendar.