We had the good fortune of connecting with Sophia Crawford and Curtis Short we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sophia, Curtis, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
SOPHIA: I’ve taken so many risks throughout my whole life. Every dream, desire and accomplishments I’ve made in my career have had their risks. There is never a guarantee on success in anything because things can happen beyond your control. What you learn as you go along is how to diminish those risks through experience. Many people are afraid of trying things for the first time and failing. It can be a very humbling experience not to succeed in your goals right away. However, I believe it builds character, mental strength and valuable life lessons. The important thing is to keep moving forward and keep trying. 

CURTIS: Growing up my Mom always called me “Curtis The Risk Taker”. Throughout my life I have lived up to what my Mom said and that is why I am who I am. I’ve been so blessed to have the experiences and life lessons because of the risks I have taken. There has been plenty of failures and success, which has given me the lessons and skills to make myself better, able to relate to everyone and start a business and risk everything during this Covid pandemic.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?

Ground and Pound Coffee is a coffee shop located in Ellard Village in Alpharetta, GA. Our goal from the very beginning was to create a community shop where we could bring people together. Curtis and I love to engage in conversation with our customers. We know their drinks, their names and get to hear a little about their lives. We see friendships being built and watch their children grow. It’s the small things that give us so much joy in what we do. We offer live Jazz on Sunday afternoons and frequently create events for the community to enjoy.

The dream of starting my own business began as I felt my longtime career as a professional stuntwoman was starting to fade. After thirty years of diving through windows, being set on fire, being catapulted into walls, falling down stairs, getting hit by cars and hundreds of fight scenes, I could feel it was time to be proactive and try to transition into a new career.

I was living in Los Angeles at the time and I was introduced to Curtis Short who has a background in operations and had spent some time in the film industry in props. The idea was to build a coffee shop in Georgia. My husband is from Georgia and we had been thinking about moving there for years. I’m originally from England and I had worked various coffee shops throughout my teenage years. I loved it but traded it in for a backpack trip and travelled overland to India. From there I explored Asia and eventually ended up in Hong Kong where I lived for five years and honed my skills as a stuntwoman. But, back to coffee, it’s funny how life can go full circle.

Curtis and I became business partners. We’re both very outgoing, we’ve both travelled the world a fair bit and we moved forward with the vision of our shop with determination. We did the build out for the shop ourselves. We had no contractors and certainly not the money to afford them. The only thing we had done for us was the tile on the back-bar because neither one of us was capable of doing it. It turned out amazing and I’m glad we had that done professionally. We opened our doors October 2019. Yes, a few months before the pandemic hit. But who knew it was coming?

When the pandemic hit, we shut down our shop for a few weeks to focus building an online presence. We had only been open for a few months and did not have a way for customers to order online. So we created a menu for curbside and pick up service or we would never have survived. Our staff was gone and Curtis and I worked seven days a week operating bar, P.O.S, shopping, cleaning and preparing food for most of 2020 until the Governor opened up 50% seating inside. We tried to get some relief from the government funding but were unsuccessful. I’m proud of the fact that through hard work and the continued support and love from the community around us, we were able to survive.

One thing that makes our shop unique is the fact that we honor stunt performers. The name Ground and Pound has different meanings to different people. It’s a great conversation starter and many people get a laugh out of it. We grind our coffee and sell it by the pound. “Ground Pounder” is a term commonly used in the stunt industry to describe a person that can take the hard hits over and over and keep going. They give 100% energy every time and do what it takes to get the job done. And that is what we do at Ground and Pound Coffee.

Has it been easy? No, it’s been a rollercoaster. Quite the experience! Now the focus is on growing our business and moving forward. We’re proud of the fact that we’ve made it through an extremely difficult year. Building a business from the ground up doesn’t give you instant gratification. It takes time, effort and heart. It’s a journey. Ground & Pound!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

CURTIS: When I have friends or family visit, first thing is Ground & Pound Coffee for the best coffee and pastries. Also, the best Jazz and a car show called Cars & Coffee. In the evening I take them to New York Prime In Atlanta, Del Frisco’s Grille, or Frankie’s The Steak House in Lawrenceville. After a fantastic steak dinner, we will end the night at Clermont Lounge or live music…Open Mic, Jazz, Reggae at places like The Place, TEN ATL, Café 290, Northside Tavern.

Sunday’s after we have our Live Jazz, myself and all the musicians go out to a local bar and have some drinks, just shootin’ the breeze and ending the week on a great note. We all come from such different backgrounds from all over the world and it’s amazing how we all are great friends when we didn’t know each other until Ground & Pound Coffee.

SOPHIA: The Blue Ridge mountains! I also enjoy the Big Creek Greenway. There are so many great hiking trails in and around the city. I haven’t had a chance to visit that many yet but this is the city in the trees. There are so many places to explore.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We would like to give a shoutout to Hansa Coffee, Mike Simmons and his family at Beans & Butter, Ronny Mathew and Musicafe’ for their contributions for making Ground and Pound Coffee what it is. We couldn’t have done it without them!

Website: https://groundandpoundcoffee.square.site

Instagram: @groundandpoundcoffee

Facebook: @groundandpoundcoffee

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/ground-and-pound-coffee-alpharetta

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsLB4DNAiQkNb8J3FKA_yvA/featured

Other: @sophiacrawfordstunts

Image Credits
The Latte picture and the picture of Curtis and in the chairs should be credited to @dailyn.mathews

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