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STOMPING GROUNDS CLOSED!

Owners of Durand's Popular Coffee Shop "At Peace" With Closing Amid Controversy Over Text Message

Updated at 9:48pm 2/20/19 - Posted by Durand Now at 8:48pm 2/20/19

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Durand Now photo

Stomping Grounds Coffee Shop is closing.  A post on the business' Facebook page by owner Nikole Hartzell reveals she and her husband, Ernie, are "at peace" with their decision to close, saying that their eyes have been opened to the reality of what running the business has cost them.

"...the pressure we were under...that we got too big too fast and it was costing us more than we ever agreed to give," she said in a message to Durand Now.  "We have jobs, kids, pets, a home. As much as we loved what we did at SGC, the cost to our lives was too much and we just couldn't see it until it was put right in our face."

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Hartzell's post on the Stomping Grounds Facebook page reads in part, "What my misstep has shown me is what the demands have done to us as Ernie and Nikole, who we can turn into."

Her misstep; an angry, expletive-laden text message to a young employee.  That's what one might presume after reading a Facebook post by employment law attorney Channing Robinson-Holmes.  She wrote "I literally deal with horrible things employers do to their employees on a daily basis. Still, this shocked me."  Robinson-Holmes accompanied those words with a screenshot of the text exchange.  Stomping Grounds was tagged in the post.

 "That isn't who we were, are, or want to be," the Stomping Grounds post continues, as Hartzell acknowledges, "I hurt someone important to us."

Hartzell's text message was posted to social media, creating a storm of controversy.  Robinson-Holmes was among those that shared the screenshot before later deleting it.  Some have argued that Stomping Grounds is being "chased out" after the incident. "No truth at all," Hartzell said to Durand Now of those claims.

Stomping Grounds was closed today and will be closed tomorrow and Friday as well.  It will reopen Saturday and Sunday for a "farewell tour."  The hours both days will be 7am to 5pm.

Ernie and Nikole Hartzell took over the reigns of Stomping Grounds from Jason and Sherry Rathburn on January 2nd of 2018. In the days prior, Nikole told Durand Now "It's been a dream of mine to open a bakery/coffee [shop]." She went on to say "We both feel it was meant to be," speaking both of her family and the Rathburns, who opened Stomping Grounds in May of 2015.

Story updated per request, to clarify that Robinson-Holmes did not "say" what Hartzell's "misstep" was.

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