The building was burnt but the beans weren’t

Eleanor Zywicki, Managing Editor

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As an owner of a local business, Proving Grounds Owner James Courtney has always tried to do whatever he could to be help his customers.

“We’ve always tried to reach out to the community and do anything we can, but you never really expect anything back. You just do it because it’s the right thing to do,” said owner James Courtney. However, when faced with turmoil the Milford community has given back more than he could have ever given. Just shy of two months after their one year anniversary on Aug. 6, Proving Grounds Coffee had a small fire due to an equipment malfunction in their roast room.

Thankfully, the fire was  contained within the roast room, which is located in the back of the cafe. The most damage was found where the smoke had escaped, filling the cafe with a hazy gray smoke. “Because of the smoke that rolled throughout the ceilings [the construction workers] had to take out all of the insulation.” explained Courtney. Going into Proving Grounds, one can look up and see the rafters due to the need to pull down the insulation and drywall. After it was all removed, the cafe went through three days of chemical cleaning and demolition to take care of the smoke damage. However this didn’t stop them one bit.

“The fire was at 1:42pm Monday and we reopened the doors Friday” said Courtney. After only three days of cleaning they were able to re-open for Milford Memories, an annual event that brings thousands to the streets of Milford yearly. Besides just their usual coffee beverages and ice cream, Proving Grounds also sold tee-shirts with sayings like “Re-building stronger” to let the community know that the fire couldn’t take them down.

So, what came after the fire? The answer is the community. Milford has always been known for it’s great community and outreach to others, but our community set itself into action after the fire.

“People wanted to roll up their sleeves and help, donate, and kids were having lemonade stands to try and raise money,” Courtney explained . Thankfully, they had insurance to cover incidences like this, so they were asking that people donate to the fireman who came to help the day of the fire.

You can donate to the Milford fire station by going to their annual pancake breakfast in May. More information can be found on the Milford Fire Department Facebook page. The community of Milford never ceases to offer help in the time of need, especially for local businesses. Three years ago when Holden’s Party Store in Milford was destroyed in a fire, also due to an equipment malfunction, the community showed overwhelming support and patience, just as they have with Proving Grounds Coffee.

Because of all of the support they were given from the community Proving Grounds had three days, August 26-29th where they gave away free coffee 7-10am  and free ice cream 6-8pm as a thank you. Even though the fire was a major setback it has offered Proving grounds an opportunity. They have planned to expand their storage room, move around some furniture, and are even getting a new updated roaster.

“ Not only can I program and customize all the different profiles, if someone comes in and likes a specific bean roast, we can roast a pound in 9 minutes.” says Courtney. So stop in, see what’s new and continue giving the community Milford is known and loved for.


Proving Grounds Facebook
Some of the new amenities coming with the re-opening of Proving Grounds, Oct. 6th include; Fireplace, pie, and poetry nights.

Proving Grounds Facebook
Owner James Courtney using the brand new bean roaster which can be set to specific roast levels. The new roaster can also roast a pond of beans in under 10 minutes.

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