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Gulfport Grind: Fresh, Locally Roasted Coffee

The Gulfport Grind has been brewing fresh cups of coffee for less than two months and already has a loyal group of daily customers.

"It's the best coffee in Gulfport," Robert Schroeder said after ordering a cup from Mary Jo Kehoe Tuesday morning.

Schroeder is among the growing group of regular customers at the newest family-run business in town: The Gulfport Grind.

"He only missed one day since we opened," owner Mary Jo Kehoe said, as Schroeder added sugar to his drink.

A bright yellow "Fresh Coffee" sign has been luring people to the shop since November 20, 2012. Mother and son duo Mary Jo and Teddy Kehoe say once people stop in and try their freshly brewed coffee, they come back.

"It's a self-satisfaction, when you hear people's compliments," owner Teddy Kehoe said.

Teddy says the main ingredient to their growing success - the coffee. The Kehoes buy whole beans from a family run business in Tampa.

The blend is made with 100% Colombian coffee. They also lure people in with fresh doughnuts, muffins and treats made everyday by local bakers.

Teddy first thought of opening up his own business years ago, all because he couldn't find a good cup of coffee.

"I wanted to do this in 1996. I just wanted a good cup of coffee," Teddy Kehoe said.

Kehoe developed his business plan more than 15 years ago. Over time, he kept an eye on properties in Gulfport while working for a major wireless company. His opportunity to become a small business owner came up after he was laid off from his upper management position in 2011.

"I was just gonna take it easy," Kehoe said.

After taking some time off, he realized it was time to make his business plan a reality. His mom, Mary Jo, became a partner, and the plan wavered a little from the original idea. Kehoe says he first envisioned a coffee shop with a laid-back feel, large couches - bascially a hangout for customers. However, he adapted his plan to accommodate the size and location of this shop.

Teddy says that the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce's Mentor Program helped him along the way. The program pairs experienced business people with those looking to start a new business in Gulfport.

"It was a very positive experience," Teddy said.

That's exactly what Teddy is hoping costumers will take away from his shop. With regulars coming in daily and a growing number of fans on the Facebook page, Teddy is excited to pair customer service and good coffee in Gulfport.

The Gulfport Grind is at 4928 Gulfport Blvd. S. The store is open Monday - Saturday 6 a.m. - 2 p.m. For more information call The Gulfport Grind at (727) 623-9818.

Lori Rosso January 09, 2013 at 12:04 PM
I build in a little extra time when I have a meeting at the Chamber to stop in for a latte by Teddy (maybe I slip in a glazed donut too). It's perfect. If you ask Bob N. it has become the Chamber Annex as it is right next door.
Phil January 09, 2013 at 01:51 PM
Thanks Cherlene for the photo of my work for sale and thanks again Teddy for the space to display my work.
Denise Lowe January 09, 2013 at 02:39 PM
Great job Mary Jo and Ted. Much blessing and success to you and The Gulfport Coffee Grind. The Lowe
Mary-Alena Martell January 11, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Gee, I would love to be there for coffee. Florida is on the radar.

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