6:06 AM EDT, October 21, 2012
Some churches decide to go into the coffeehouse business as a means of providing fellowship around a fireplace outside the traditional walls of worship.
But a Granger megachurch has taken that concept a step further.
Granger Community Church has renamed its property, located on the north side of University Drive, to more adequately represent new offerings available to the public.
The complex is called Granger Commons, and it comprises the church, where an estimated 5,500 people gather every weekend, as well as expanded retail and restaurant components.
The cafe and bookstore are now offered seven days per week, as opposed to opening weekends-only for services at 630 E. University Drive.
"The church is the people, and a building is a building," says Melanie Rosander, director of Granger Commons. "We're being very intentional to invite people inside. We want to have more happening on the property than weekend services."
The church has opened a new cafe (The Eatery), bookstore and gift shop (Reads & Things), children's bookstore (opening in November), preschool and natural outdoor playground. Everything can be accessed without ever stepping foot in the church's auditorium.
A recent 11,700-square-foot addition allowed Granger Community Church to create an atrium through which people can access seating with free Wi-Fi, large-screen televisions and welcoming gas fireplaces.
The cafe and store, which employ about 50 people, are intended to be self-supporting, says Jami Ruth, Granger Community Church promotions director. "Any profit that remains after expenses would help the ministries of the church."
In addition to a fair-trade coffee bar, customers can order breakfast sandwiches as well as soups, salads and sandwiches at lunch and dinner. The church is trying to locally source as many food products as it can.
"I think we're going to deem this our corner," Denise Graves, of Mishawaka, said Friday morning, while sipping coffee with family members and friends in a cozy partitioned area.
"We usually try different places, but I wanted them to see what's going on at my church," Graves said about choosing the breakfast stop.
They were impressed by the ambiance and experience at the church.
"I really like the fireplace and this whole setting. It's a new concept," said Fran Feiser, of South Bend, who is Graves' mom. "Word of mouth will bring people in."
The Eatery, Reads & Things is open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Sneak peek at holiday pop-ups downtown
Seven temporary pop-up shops are planned this holiday season for downtown South Bend. Here is a sneak peek at the store names and locations they have leased:
The Indiana Rug Co. will be at 132 S. Michigan St.
The Ludus Machine, As the Wood Turns and Mycentir Mosaics will share space at 140 S. Michigan St.
Gifted, Gifts of Joy and Shelly's Angel Photography will be located at Center City Place, 225 S. Michigan St.
The temporary stores are expected to open their doors Nov. 2 and remain open through the holidays.
Next week, we hope to take you behind-the-scenes as these businesses feverishly work to open their new shops in less than two weeks.
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Have you heard?
A new storefront in downtown South Bend will feature the archeological finds of its local owner. Mark Tarner, president of South Bend Chocolate Co., plans to open The Dino Store in downtown South Bend in a few weeks behind his downtown cafe. ... Speaking of South Bend Chocolate, the local company has received the 2012 Indiana Main Street Business of the Year Award from the Indiana Main Street Program, a statewide program that encourages the revitalization and restoration of downtown areas in Indiana cities and towns. ... Join our next live chat at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at www.southbendtribune.com.
Heidi Prescott's column runs on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. When she's not shopping, contact her at email@example.com or 574-235-6070. You can also talk retail at Facebook.com/thebasket and at Twitter.com/marketbasket.