Unadilla native Ali Hanrahan, 31, brewed together her life’s passions — coffee, vinyl and vintage — to launch Groundhouse Coffee & Goods in Oneonta.
The 147 Main St. shop opened in late 2020 as a holiday pop-up venue, Hanrahan said, but quickly became the creative haven she envisioned. The shop, she said, is “a little bit Western but also vintage; very Americana and Western cowboy, but also rock ‘n’ roll.”
“I went to Unatego High School and SUNY Oneonta, and I changed my major around a lot — I did music industry, fashion and ultimately graduated with a communications degree,” Hanrahan said. “Then I moved down to the city and lived in Brooklyn, but worked in Manhattan for six years. I was always doing vintage clothing pop-up shops in Brooklyn on the side, and my favorite places to go were cool coffee shops where I would feel inspired by other creatives.
“I moved back up here four years ago with my daughter and I really wanted a space for everybody to go — no matter who you are, whatever your background — but pointed toward artists, musicians and writers; just a creative, collaborative space,” she continued. “That’s where the coffee shop came into play.”
A confluence of timing, funding and circumstance helped transition the space from pop-up to permanent, Hanrahan said.
“There are other coffee shops and vintage stores in town, but I didn’t really feel like there was a place I could go to and feel super inspired and creative all in one,” she said. “I opened the weekend before Christmas and was initially just going to do the shop for Christmas, because I wasn’t even done yet with the space and it was still being renovated, but I wanted to get the doors open and get my name out there and provide that space for people — while following all COVID guidelines — where they could feel something new and exciting was happening.
“Opening this space was totally a matter of it being the right time and things just falling into place,” Hanrahan continued. “All of a sudden, this opportunity happened, and I just took it and leapt and it’s still evolving every week.”
Contributions to a GoFundMe page, Hanrahan said, also helped get Groundhouse off the ground. Community donations leading up to her opening, she said, totaled nearly $3,000.
“The space was available and I invested all my life savings and I had a business plan and a vision, but I’d lost my job in March, so the community response and help was a huge catalyst for being able to open,” she said. Previously, Hanrahan said, she did freelance social media marketing, taught yoga and worked at the Foothills Performing Arts & Civic Center.
That community response, she said, has yielded a diverse clientele.
“My main goal was to get creatives in the door, and that’s what is happening,” she said. “I’m meeting college students that are photographers, artists and music industry majors and local creatives, too, that want to come and find a place to work remotely. It’s a mixture of locals excited to see something new and college students, of course, and people traveling up from the city.”
Alongside vintage goods and vinyl curated over decades, Hanrahan said, Groundhouse brews organic Roman Roaster Coffee, roasted in Delhi. Hanrahan said sourcing locally is something to which she’s committed.
“Right now, I’m serving coffee on a 1960s Bunn burner, in very much a diner style,” she said, noting that an espresso machine is soon to come. “The feel is a creative coffee shop in the ‘70s in SoHo … and, I’m still in the beginning stages, but my goal for the end of the year is to have a fully functioning coffee-shop kitchen with salads and all fresh, local ingredients. I don’t want to get outside of Otsego and Delaware counties as far as sourcing.”
As Groundhouse Coffee & Goods becomes established, Hanrahan said, she hopes to expand other on-site offerings.
“I want to have this be an event space in the evenings,” she said. “So, a coffee shop with vintage and vinyl by day, but in the evenings, a collaborative space for open-mike nights and showcasing art in the gallery. I have such a big space that there’s endless opportunities for me to move and shift. I’ll just be a work in progress.”
For more information, follow @groundhousecoffeeny on Instagram or find “Groundhouse Coffee & Goods” on Facebook.
Groundhouse Coffee & Goods is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, and noon to 5, Friday and Saturday. Hanrahan also vends regularly Saturdays at John’s Flea in Delhi.