For students struggling with the ongoing stresses of Wake Forest, having a place to escape is a necessity. For this reason, many students choose Campus Grounds as their place of refuge.
The environment is unlike any other on campus; it doesn’t have the intimidation of the library or the formality of Reynolda. It serves as a quaint, calming escape for students to do work, catch up with friends or simply enjoy a well-made drink.
Recently, Campus Grounds worked to improve its atmosphere even more. Beginning a few years ago, they started to bring in merchandise from various Winston-Salem favorites to offer students unique products with the luxury of staying on campus.
“It started with this growing idea of ‘live local,’” said Campus Grounds general manager, senior Quentin Brillantes. “First we had Krankies, then Bagel Station, then Gigis and now the recent additions of UpDog Kombucha and Camino Bakery.”
Campus Grounds has brewed local Krankies coffee, located in the heart of downtown Winston-Salem, since 2014. The transition to locally made goods began with this change. The successes of Bagel Station and Gigi’s Cupcakes products inspired the shop to embrace new products, leading to the most recent additions of UpDog Kombucha and Camino Bakery.
UpDog is a small business run by a current Wake Forest senior, Lauren Miller and her business partner, Olivia Wolff, who graduated in the spring. Their product is Kombucha: a fermented tea packed with enzymes, probiotics and antioxidants to promote digestive health.
“We are really excited to partner with such a strong student organization on campus,” Miller said. “Wake Forest itself has always been supportive of our business and now that we will be sold at Campus Grounds, it will be way more convenient for students to buy our product.”
Campus Grounds sells individual cups or bottles of Kombucha for $5, and customers also have the option to purchase a growler for $12 to be refilled for $10 at the store.
The other recent addition, Camino Bakery, offers bakery items from one of the most popular downtown coffee shops to students on campus. On a Sunday afternoon, Wake Forest students typically fill up the downtown location doing homework while enjoying cookies, homemade breads or freshly brewed coffee.
But for those without the ability to get off-campus on a regular basis, Campus Grounds will now sell their chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, banana bread slices, pumpkin bread slices and blueberry muffins. Whether enjoying a muffin for a quick breakfast or grabbing a freshly baked, warm cookie after a hard exam, Campus Grounds has various treats for any occasions.
Despite such changes to the Campus Grounds experience, the role it plays on campus as a welcoming, calm environment still stands firm. If anything, the recent embrace of Winston-Salem culture acts as a connection between Wake Forest students and the lively scene that exists downtown.
“Campus Grounds provides me with the opportunity to escape campus if I need to, because it feels like a study spot that’s off campus but is so accessible,” said sophomore Mary Kate Gregor. “Also it’s great that we can can go there and have our favorite treats from downtown without actually going.”
The issue of inconvenience is solved with the new products offered in Campus Grounds. Further, the push to embrace local culture goes beyond an attempt to make money by offering these products to students. For Brillantes, it’s about reiterating the atmosphere that students already love about Campus Grounds while adding new aspects.
“Our next biggest obstacle is getting up in front of campus, getting even more people through the door,” said Brillantes. “We fit in even more now with Wake Forest’s ideals. This year we’ve seen the Pit introduce new local and organic foods, and now we are able to align with that.”
The warm, welcoming environment of Campus Grounds is unchanging. For students looking to escape the constant stresses of school without leaving campus, it acts as a perfect escape. With the new introduction of local products, students can connect with the Winston-Salem culture by simply stopping by their favorite on-campus coffee shop.