It’s Coffee O’clock 


Photo Courtesy of 7Eleven Hawaii

Alex Galloway, Assistant Opinion Editor

A wise man once said, “A coffee a day keeps the grumpy away.” Oh boy, was he right! Managing the responsibilities of being an adult is far from easy; coffee helps. Here in Storm Lake there are now seven coffee shops. This includes the bistro/café located in Buena Vista Regional Medical Center, Common Grounds Coffee Shop located on BV’s campus, Grand Central Coffee Station with two locations, Coffee Tree, Better Day Café, and the just recently opened Scooters.  

I spoke with John Kennan, an owner of Grand Central Coffee Station. Grand Central offers warm panini sandwiches, soup, lots of goodies, and a variety of drinks like lattes, brewed coffees, teas, and granitas (blended drinks). They also offer over 40 flavors for drinks and nearly 20 sugar-free flavors. Recently, they’ve started offering popping pearls in a few flavors that can be added to iced teas, lemonades, and smoothies.  

Grand Central’s first location opened over 15 years ago in February of 2004. In July of 2013, a second location opened near Kings Pointe. John said that he and his wife Karen wanted to open the shop here in the small community of Storm Lake because it was their hometown, and they wanted their children to be close to all of their family here.  

Before Grand Central opened, John had worked in retail for many years. The company John had worked for knew that John and Karren had planned on opening up their own business, but also knew they were unsure of what to name it. John’s coworkers had asked questions about Storm Lake and the location of the coffee shop to get a feel and come up with a name. John says that, “The vicinity of the tracks was so close to the coffee shop that they said the name Grand Central Coffee Station, and it just kind of stuck.”  

John’s favorite part of owning a coffee shop in Storm Lake is the support of the community. “They have been very welcoming and have always been there for us.” He has also enjoyed working with the younger students from BV and helping them engage with the community. He mentioned that there’s so many different people that come through Grand Central that represent different businesses in the area and he enjoys getting to see the students from BV interact with them.  

Recently, Scooters Coffee has opened up in Storm Lake. Scooters has many locations in the Midwest, including 10 just in Omaha, Nebraska. I asked John if he had any thoughts about the Scooters opening. He thought that the cooperation coming to Storm Lake was a little alarming because there are already three independent businesses that support the local economy. These three local businesses are keeping the money in Storm Lake rather than sending it off to an outside cooperation. However, John said that, “I think the competition piece is important to all of us to keep us fresh and keep us going.”  

In my opinion, I’ve enjoyed the coffee at local shops more than any of the large coffee chains. Next time you’re out and about, be sure to stop by one of the local shops and support your community!