Here’s where award-winning coffee and savory meals satisfy more than our appetites. In addition to filling bellies with hot drinks, signature sandwiches and vegan-friendly treats like Z Wild cookies and homemade mac-n-cheese, New Grounds Roasting Co. has a way of satisfying the soul.
The New Grounds Personality
From live music to charity events and boxing matches, New Grounds is a center for positivity and togetherness. A major contributor to the New Grounds involvement in the community is sound manager John Beck, aka Albert Orkenbjorken.
Panic at the Ballpark, the York Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center and The Pullo Center … Beck manages sound and sets at these and numerous York locations. He’s also an original musician who has played bass guitar and keys and provided vocals for several locally rooted touring bands. Not only does Beck play a key role in the local entertainment that we love, but he’s also devoted to making the world a better place, one hug at a time (literally).
“We even stood in the square in the middle of a thunderstorm,” Beck says. He’s hosted more than 10 free hugs gatherings, each one involving more participants than the next. During their most recent walks, “We gave hats and gloves to people in the city who truly needed them,” he recalls. He also leads anti-violence rallies. During the last rally, more than 70 people joined in.
The gatherings are a way to get people from different backgrounds together to support one another despite their views. Beck also held unity walks alongside writer, public figure and host of Culture and Main Carla Christopher, in response to the tension over the 2016 presidential election election. “We’re going to keep at it,” Beck says. “It may take years to get York to the level of safety that we want, but it will happen.”
When York College student Stephen Reuther heard about Beck’s efforts in the community, he decided to make his activism the subject for one of his class video projects. “We didn’t expect to get the reaction that we got,” Beck explains. “We reached almost 1,000 views in one day, 4,000 in a week, and we’re at over 28,000 now.”
Beck has also been featured on several media outlets and has become a major voice for York. “We care about the city and want people to be able to express themselves,” he says. New Grounds is the perfect place for him to continue to help members of the community to do just that.
More Than a Coffee Shop: A Place for Music
“Hosting live events at New Grounds was Calvin’s brain child,” Beck explains. “I was building sets for York High when he approached me.” In 2013, Weary Arts Group founder and CEO Calvin (Cal) Weary came up with the idea to turn the large room in the back of the New Grounds coffee shop into a music venue. Although it began with Weary’s idea, it quickly became Beck’s muse and today is one of York’s best-known venues for music.
“The new owners have been so great to work with,” Beck explains. New Grounds started hosting live events under previous ownership. When Thaddeus (shown at left with John Beck) and Tammy Shaw took over, they wanted to continue supporting and expanding the New Grounds role in York’s music scene and community, he says.
Whether artists are performing intimate shows just inside the welcoming windows of the coffee shop or large-scale concerts on the back venue’s stage, “New Grounds is a great outlet and safe place for artists and their audiences,” Beck says.
At New Grounds, musicians, poets, and other artists come to share their work free from judgment. The people who come to New Grounds care about the creatives and their stories. “Doing this is therapy,” Beck explains. He knows that by giving people an outlet, New Grounds helps build their confidence while giving audiences a taste of the diverse talent York has to offer.
The New Grounds backroom concert venue stage hosts both local and national acts. They also help York College of Pennsylvania’s York Music Group students host their own concerts in their venue. The students’ responsibilities range from booking the acts to selling tickets and running lights and sound for the show itself.
Although some are purely entertainment, many concerts benefit great causes. In their breast cancer benefit concert, some of the performers were survivors themselves.
More Than a Coffee Shop: Activity
In addition to bringing variety into the community through art, New Grounds partners with many organizations in the community. Behind the lights and stage, a back room serves as a boxing ring and training oasis for Stick-N-Move boxing.
Music and boxing are only the beginning of the community involvement. “We worked with Olivia’s House to raise suicide awareness for four years. We also have done fundraising for cancer survivors through the WellSpan Cancer Patient Relief Fund,” Beck explains.
New Grounds has also partnered with Bell Associates, the Rescue Mission, Animal Advocates of South Central PA, Heavenly Paws and the York County Food Bank. They have also worked with several homeless shelters in the area and have helped the YWCA to support their stand against domestic violence. “We have helped out homeless veterans and we do a toy drive that goes directly to families in need,” Beck continues.
New Grounds and its charitable acts don’t stop there. In late 2016, New Grounds collected clothing for 40 families and has also collected hygiene supply donations for individuals in need. The drive began in January and didn’t end until the last week in February.
Beck is grateful to be a member of an environment that cares deeply about bettering the city and graciously welcomes guests of all different backgrounds.
“That’s what I love about New Grounds,” Beck says. “We reach out to so many groups that felt they had nowhere safe to go or express themselves before. It’s not just a coffee shop; it’s a community center.”
Stick-N-Move Builds Confidence and Self-Esteem
“Our main goal is to keep the children off the streets and give them a different outlet,” explains Stick-N-Move Boxing Executive Director Antwoine Dorm. “Boxing humbles the bullies and gives confidence to one who lack it.”
Unlike other sports programs, there is no off season here. Stick-N-Move provides children and adults a year-round place to build physical and emotional strength seven days a week.
Not only does Stick-N-Move encourage male and female students who don’t feel comfortable trying out for other sports to get involved, but it also provides an incentive to excel in school. “They can’t participate if they don’t keep a C average, but a C is considered just settling. They know they’re expected to do more,” Dorm explains.
Dorm and his team express gratitude for their home in New Grounds. “As the students grew so did we,” Dorm explains. By partnering with Cal Weary of Weary Arts Group and Thaddeus and Tammy Shaw of New Grounds Roasting Co., the Stick-N-Move team went from an area that was overcrowded to a place where they felt free from others watching over them.
“When people walk in their reactions say, ‘Oh, thank God you’re here,’” Dorm says with a smile. “Everyone felt so happy and relieved, able to let loose.” Dorm hopes to one day receive grants or government funding to help pay the rent. “We’d never want to have to turn anyone away for free.”
Stick-N-Move currently partners with York’s probation officers, Children in Youth, Youth Advocate, and other agencies to keep children involved, motivated, and positive.
As if getting happy and healthy wasn’t awesome enough, the Stick-N-Move team has an 80 percent winning rate. Dorm’s own son, Antoine Dorm Jr., achieved third place in the USA Boxing Junior League.
Dorm has seen complete turnarounds in many of the participant’s personalities. “One of the boys went from not knowing what he wanted to do with his life to having dreams and goals,” he explains. He hopes to continue to run and expand the program for years to come. “Stick-N-Move gives children an outlet where they can be themselves in a good atmosphere that feels like home.”
By Brandi Mummert for YRK Magazine
Photography provided by New Grounds Roasting Co.; Photograph of John Beck and Thaddeus Shaw courtesy of Stephen Wasserman
Stick-N-Move boxing photos courtesy YRK Creative