In 2007, when I opened The Sparrows Coffee & Tea & Newsstand with my then husband and our good friend, Jason, our only goals were to create a community space and survival. We hadn't experienced third wave coffee yet, and none of us had a clue how to run a business. Jason moved on to other adventures within the first year, leaving his portion of the shop to my then husband and me. Although I can say the business survived, my marriage did not. By 2010 the shop was all mine, and in financial distress. Three years later, The Sparrows was debt-free, and I had moved on to starting a non-profit creative writing center for kids in the neighborhood of the shop. In 2017, we began roasting our own coffee. I've learned a lot of things in ten years, but my most valuable lesson is that owning a business involves intentionally living outside of your comfort zone. 

My Story

After growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, I moved to Grand Rapids, MI to attend Calvin College. It took all five of my college years, but eventually GR grew on me and I stayed. I am now totally in love with this city, and have developed a healthy life goal of writing a novel with Grand Rapids as a central character. I love nothing more than writing, connecting with people, and serving coffee.

Photo by Leigh Ann Cobb, H&M by Metta Wild

Photo by Leigh Ann Cobb, H&M by Metta Wild


I met my husband, David, four years after he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. We were married in 2014, but not before he knocked me up after eight years of infertility in my previous relationship. We continued accidentally reproducing until our third daughter was born in 2016. Our daughters are Marian (4), Viola (3), and Henrietta (2). And just like that, we're (surgically) done having babies! 

My goals these days involve growing my business larger than I can even imagine, and keeping my patience with three toddlers. Unlike my dear, sweet, beautiful daughters, I'll keep the whining to a minimum.