At a time when people are urged to stay apart, a new coffee and bakery shop opening in South Arlington wants to bring people together.
"There's been a thousand decisions that have gone into this, and we're hoping to be open in the next month. And I think there's still a thousand decisions to go," said Jimmy Kinley, co-owner of Grounds and Gold Coffee Co on South Bowen Road. "I think when people come in and see this place, they're gonna see there's been a lot of love and thought that's gone into it, and they'll see it's some good people with good intentions, trying to do good for the locals."
The good Kinley talks about goes straight to the heart of the business, a little boy named Micah Ahern.
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"Micah's the cause behind it all, the whole place. When we designed it, we wanted to capture who he was and he could make people smile," said Maurice Ahern, Micah's dad.
Maurice didn't have Micah very long. His son died in 2016 at the age of seven of neuroblastoma.
"Micah passed. My dad passed, both of cancer, and I went through a divorce. So that year and a half was a pretty dark time," said Maurice Ahern.
It was in that dark time that Maurice found renewed strength in his son's inspired life and the attitude that infected everyone who met him. Micah's motto was "never, ever give up."
The gold ribbon symbolizes childhood cancer with a portion of sales going to fighters like Micah.
Now three years later, the inspiration continues as Maurice, his new brother-in-law Jimmy Kinley and mother-in-law Jenifer Kinley prepare to open Grounds and Gold.
"My son was the master of that. He had a way of connecting with people, so no matter what life throws at you, it's what you do with it. Micah, the never ever give up attitude," Maurice Ahern said
"Maurice just always wanted to bring smiles to people's faces and wanted to bring life into the community. So, we think we can do that without physically seeing people," Kinley said.
In fact, it happened last week. Local businessman Derrick Kinney bought fresh-baked pies from Grounds and Gold, gave away 200 in a drive-by pies event and gave a donation to support children's cancer research at Cook Children's Medical Center.
“We’ve all been through a lot the past few months,” Kinney said. "We wanted to create a fun and safe experience for people and give back to the community. "
"We were able to connect with people and bring smiles to people's faces yet we're not even open," Kinley said.
"We never planned there would be a pandemic. So life threw that at us, so now what can we do to still make the best of it?" Maurice Ahern said. "People are going through some hard times right now. Hopefully, we can give those little sparks, those little things of encouragement, those little things to say hey, this is bad but there's still good."
The brothers-in-law hope to open their new shop next month.
In the meantime, they'll look for ways to connect with the community while keeping a safe distance.