A veterans-focused nonprofit is nearing its financial goal to open a downtown Grand Rapids coffee shop in 2022.
Michael Hyacinthe — co-founder and executive director of Grand Rapids-based [HAS HEART], a nonprofit that pairs veterans with designers to tell their story through art, design and fashion — said on Veterans Day (Thursday, Nov. 11) his organization raised over $400,000 of its $500,000 goal to renovate the building at 22 Sheldon Ave. NE in downtown Grand Rapids and turn it into the [HAS HEART] Coffee Shop.
West Michigan donors included the Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department, Kent County Veterans Services, Steelcase, The Wege Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, Frey Foundation, Terrapin Care Station, West Michigan Veterans Coalition and Comerica Bank.
Once the funding goal is met, building renovations are expected to begin in early 2022.
Located on the Veterans Memorial Park grounds in downtown Grand Rapids, the coffee shop will aim to provide a safe and inclusive gathering space open daily for veterans and civilians to interact, starting on Memorial Day 2022.
In addition to serving locally roasted Madcap Coffee, [HAS HEART] will offer a variety of apparel, accessories and home goods items featuring designs co-created by veterans in collaboration with professional designers.
“Since the inception of [HAS HEART], it has been our goal to create a space where the city can unite around our local veterans and support their work,” Hyacinthe said. “The coffee shop will provide a permanent place to share their powerful stories with a cup of coffee in hand while visiting Grand Rapids’ oldest city park. We are grateful to have the support of the West Michigan community and our generous partners.”
Those interested can support [HAS HEART] by donations that will go toward the coffee equipment needed to open or by purchasing veterans’ stories and designs from hasheart.us.
“Michael and I first met over a cup of coffee in 2010, and since then, we’ve witnessed coffee bring veterans and artists together during each [HERO]series project,” said Tyler D. Way, [HAS HEART] co-founder and creative director, referring to the design collaboration series that kicked off the nonprofit. “Coffee has just as much of an impact in bringing worlds together as art, and we’re looking forward to having both at Veterans Memorial Park soon.”
[HAS HEART] art exhibit in Saugatuck
After a successful Voices project consisting of 21 veteran ArtPrize artists led by local artist and exhibit curator Pamela Alderman, [HAS HEART] recently placed its “50 States: Veterans + Artists United” tour project at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts.
The grand opening celebration starts 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, and will feature projects from 12 states, a behind-the-scenes film showing hosted by [HAS HEART] founders Hyacinthe and Way, a pop-up shop and a free all-ages concert by Mark Lavengood.
The art exhibit will run through Dec. 22. More event information is on Saugatuck Center for the Arts’ website.