WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Collin O’Donnell played football at Bluefield University. While attending, his favorite shop in town was closing. He and some of his teammates tried persuading them to stay open.
The owners fired right back, saying, “You should do this, and we were like, ‘You know what? We should.’ And so that’s how it started – with $250 and a dream.”
Thus began The Grind, named both for its coffee and its grit. Its original store is in Bluefield, but they recently added to the fleet by opening up a shop in downtown Wytheville.
O’Donnell tells us, “The Grind never stops. We are the blue-collar, dirty knuckle-dragging, get-it-done attitude coffee shop of southwest Virginia.”
An upbeat attitude like this extends not just to the brand but to the customers and each other.
“Who wants to come to work with the current conditions of the world and not have a good time with the person they’re working with? Like no one has time for that.”
What they do have time for is making sure that “You’re going to have the time of your life for the two minutes that you’re in here grabbing your coffee, and it’s going to be your peace.”
Gourmet coffee, smoothies and milkshakes become a part of that peace. Even though O’Donnell says the food is “secondary,” it’s not to be slept on.
The Grind serves up everything from breakfast sandwiches to savory lunchtime melts to sweet treats like muffins.
The specialty, he says, are the smoothies.
“I’ll put our smoothies up against anyone in the United States. Best on this side of the Mississippi – I guarantee it. Mango and Pina Colada. Recently, over the last few months, we got into the mixing game. Strawberry banana, wild berry.”
I had to go with what brings all the boys to the yard - the milkshakes. (Cue the mid-2000s pop/hip-hop reference.)
“Banana cream and it can be topped with graham crackers. It tastes exactly like a banana cream pie.”
Needless to say, it did not disappoint! I don’t even like banana!
The sky is the limit for this Wytheville winner!
“We want to start roasting our own coffee. We want another location. We want to become a staple of southwest Virginia.”