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Published July 08, 2013, 06:42 AM

New coffee shop giving alternative to bar goers

A new coffee shop in Grand Forks is getting noticed for reasons other than coffee.

A new coffee shop in Grand Forks is getting noticed for reasons other than coffee.

The newest coffee shop in Grand Forks is making waves…

Michael Myslinski, The Ember Volunteer: “A lot of people walk by and look through the window and they're like what is that?”

…with the bar scene.

Grant Mitchell, The Ember Volunteer: “This is an alternative to partying on the weekends.”

Jay Wambsganss, The Ember Customer: “We decided what the heck, we'll pop in, sit down and have a cup of joe.”

The Ember is right next to downtown bars and on weekends it's open just as late.

Myslinski: “Instead of going out and getting drunk, this is an opportunity to come here and play games and just hang out and have a cup of coffee.”

Mark Kasier, Bouncer: “It gives young people, or anybody for that matter, something to do late at night that doesn't involve alcohol.”

Bar employees seem to welcome the new addition. Bouncers even pitch in with security if needed.

Kasier: “We're trying to be very neighborly and friendly. We want to make sure nothing happens to them.”

The favor is returned.

Myslinski: “We like to give free samples to people out at the bars and just let them know what we do and to get the word out.”

It's more than just the late hours that makes this coffee house different. It's ran entirely by volunteers like Kristin Stahl.

Kristin Stahl, The Ember Volunteer: “I've never worked at a coffee bar before and I've always wanted to.”

Stahl says they're doing more than scooping ice and blending drinks.

Stahl: “We want to not just serve them coffee, but get to know them, have conversation, know their name, find out their story and just talk to them and build relationships.”

Mitchell: “Everybody who's here is here because they want to be here. And everybody who's here is going to have a good attitude.”

Volunteers use this iPad to keep track of sales. They've made a few hundred dollars this holiday weekend and all of the profits go to a different charity each month.

Myslinski: “We're an outlet to give and serve the community.”

Wambsganss: “It's a really nice add on to Grand Forks. I know we've been looking for a place like this for a long time.”

The Ember is owned by the pastors of Freedom Church. It's only open weekends for now but hours may extend if more volunteers sign up.

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