Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By Sydney Edwards
A coffee shop in downtown Mattoon survived during the nation’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, while other coffee shops were not so fortunate.
“When the economy decreased, there was a coffee shop across the street that closed, but we survived,” said Mindy Eveland, owner of Common Grounds, 1612 Charleston Ave.
Common Grounds was opened on September 11, 1998 by Eveland.
“I had moved away from Mattoon, then moved back. I thought Mattoon needed a coffee shop. It had always been my dream to open one,” said Eveland.
In 1998, the Central Illinois area did not even have a Starbucks, Common Grounds was the first coffee shop in the area.
“[Common Grounds] used to be RK Drug, and it was closed down, so I was wondering if they would be willing to lease the building and they were,” said Eveland.
Debbie Landreth has been going to Common Grounds since it opened in ‘98 for the Wi-Fi and coffee.
“I have been coming here for about 10-11 years. I really enjoy the mochas,” said Landreth.
Landreth’s husband also attends the coffee shop with her a couple times a week. Back in the day, the two came for the music also.
“We used to come for the blues music, I’m not sure they have it anymore,” said Landreth.
When Landreth first began coming to Common Grounds the only items the menu offered was specialized coffee beverages, bagels and pastries.
“After we had success with special coffee, and pastries, we looked at adding soups, salads and soups,” Eveland said.
Another loyal customer is Illinois Senator, Dale Righter, R-55th.
Righter has been coming to Common Grounds since it opened in ’98. He comes about once a week.
“I usually come to place a order or to meet someone over coffee. I like to try all the drinks, mix it up,” Righter said.