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Ancient Grounds, a Heritage Coffee Co. venture in Seattle, ``quietly opened the doors'' in mid-January, said Heritage President Grady Saunders.
A combination Native art gallery and cafe, Ancient Grounds is Heritage's first storefront outside of Juneau. The new business is advantageously located in the Dillard Hotel building on First Avenue, near the Seattle Art Museum and the Pike Street Market.
A grand opening has been put off until the weather in Seattle improves, Saunders said. ``We probably couldn't have opened at a worse time, weather-wise.''
But the formal opening, to be held in mid-to-late February, will be big, he said. ``I've got friends coming from both coasts.''
The gallery and cafe are managed by former Juneau resident and artist Roland Crawford, who owned the Objects of Bright Pride gallery here.
Ancient Grounds has three totem poles and ``natural history art'' from around the world, Saunders said. There are masks from three continents, Mexican butterfly mountings and a 7-foot-tall ostrich skeleton, among numerous items, he said.
``We serve an eclectic mix of foods from different vendors, but we're more an espresso bar than a restaurant, as we are in Juneau,'' Saunders said.
Occasional music and poetry events are planned. The hours, now about 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, will be expanded in the summer. There also will be extended hours for the monthly Gallery Walk in Seattle and when there are symphony and museum events nearby.
The store has four employees now and Saunders said he expects to hire two or three more by summer.
Saunders, who started Heritage on Franklin Street in 1974, has made big inroads in the past 10 years through mail orders and scores of grocery stores, cafes, restaurants and bars. But he said he wants to remain a relatively small roaster geared toward sophisticated palates.
``We don't have grandiose plans of being the next Starbucks, by any means,'' he said. ``We'll never sacrifice quality for quantity.''