Monday, May 18, 2015

Higher Grounds, a place we call home...

"I love Higher Grounds and all the beautiful friendships I have made there over the years. Thank you Kim, for all that you have done for East Hampton and the local community!" JCherry

Higher Grounds at 70 Main Street in downtown East Hampton is more than a coffeeshop, it is a place where people gather, a place like home. We are a community of friends, and we are deeply upset that the town of East Hampton has allowed another coffeeshop to open next-door to our beloved coffeehouse!! In a small town two coffeeshops RIGHT NEXT-DOOR to each other is not only wrong, it's bad for everyone, the town, Higher Grounds, and the new shop. I'd like to share this story as it so eloquently tells the story. 

Special To JCherry Presents
by Kevin Barrett

I just wanted to share an evolving mystery with you, as you’re enjoying morning coffee or sipping on late-night tea.  On a macro-level, the heart of this mystery involves civilized business ethics.  On a micro-level, as it relates to the Town of East Hampton, it involves something much greater.  
The establishment at the core of this mystery is a coffee house known as “Higher Grounds”.  At first glance, Higher Grounds appears to be a quaint coffee shop located just off the main strip in East Hampton.  But when you look closer, pick your head up and venture inside, it becomes clear that Higher Grounds is much more than a quaint coffee shop.  It has developed into a cultural icon in the heart of East Hampton, where people from all ages are allured by the warm, natural and harmonic environment created over the past several years.
Higher Grounds is best described as an Artisan Coffee House.  Not just because organic soups, such as Potato Parmesan, Tuscan White Bean; or sandwiches, such as Ham & Provolone on homemade buttermilk biscuits, Chick Pea, avocado and cilantro Wraps; or desserts, such as, Decadent Ireland Chocolate Orange Cake embraced by Orange Buttercream; are hand-crafted from scratch, but because it embraces, provides an opportunity to enhance and perpetuates local artists in the community it has become a part of.  
Higher Grounds is filled with local artist’s wares and portraits and provides a warm, safe environment for these artist’s to present their creations.  It does this, not for profit, but to stimulate the culture of the local community by allowing such artists to display their work, feel proud of their accomplishments and promote others to understand, harness and enhance their own talents. 
At Higher Grounds, support of local artistic talents extends into music, as well.  Higher Grounds has evolved into a sanctuary where established musicians come to produce acoustic versions of their most treasured pieces.  In keeping with its’ commitment toward enhancing local artistic culture, it provides open-mic evenings where emerging musicians can congregate to share their craft, develop confidence,  and expand their talents.  Whether you’re a teenager or someone slightly (ok, maybe much) older like myself, you’re lured by the atmosphere, comforted by the warm and wholesome sincerity and find yourself contently staying longer than initially anticipated.
The mystery does not lie within the creation of this establishment.  Its’ owner has poured a great deal of continuous thought, energy, commitment and life into Higher Grounds over the years.  Forming her vision and ensuring it evolves and comes to fruition, has required consistent, dedicated and exhaustive attention to detail(s).  Details associated with the menu, its’ organic ingredients, as well as the staff, events and down to earth environment have resulted in the creation of an icon in East Hampton that has stimulated the local artistic culture of this town.  Any patron can enter and experience great comfort through sincere warmth and friendliness, not typical of today’s fast-paced coffee shop. 
What is really mysterious, is that someone is promoting a second coffee shop within the same building complex as Higher Grounds.  Even though our country was founded on, and its’ strength lies in free markets and competition, it stretches the boundaries of sound judgment to find it acceptable to promote a second coffee shop within the same building complex as Higher Grounds.  This truly questions the business ethics of ones involved in promoting this second coffee shop.  These half-baked decisions will prove not only devastating to Higher Grounds, but the cultural stimulus Higher Grounds has provided to East Hampton.  The mystery is perpetuated by the expectation that Higher Grounds will not be able to renew its’ lease as it expires this October.  
I’m confident the current owner of Higher Grounds will persevere as she has done at the current location.  Like before, it will take a great deal of energy, commitment and life to do so.  The biggest loss will be the impact on the local community.  I encourage you to visit Higher Grounds for yourself, they will certainly have something of value for you.  You will quickly understand it’s not just the coffee, tea(s) and wholesome foods they provide, it’s the way they serve you and the warm, friendly atmosphere they have cultured within the Town of East Hampton over the past several years. 
Just Thinking,
Kevin Barrett


  1. This article speaks the truth. When I walk into Higher Grounds I am enveloped in love and my creativity dances!

  2. A reminder that there are 3 art Galleries right next to each other all thriving. Two clothing stores right next to one another and at one tme Many antique stores all next to each other in the village of East Hamoton. All did well ALL worked together. Higher Grounds does not have a non compete ckause. Any one can put in a business anywhere. It us called freedom. If Higher Grounds is doing so great why would it hurt their business? If anything it would help her to step up her game! She has a solid who cares if she has compition...compitition is good. This rant is really pointless. It is BUSINESS AND IN BUSINESS THERE IS NO FEELINGS. That is why men are sucsessful in business. Women could learn a lot by following their lead.

  3. Huh? What on earth does this have to do with being a female? LOL!

  4. Whoever wrote that second comment, please use spell check. Secondly, yes competition is great but Higher Grounds was not given that opportunity. Their lease was not renewed by the landlords. Those 3 art galleries are not all thriving.

  5. The second comment written by a man?? Ha ha!