Downtown Ministries Inc. of Greenville will soon have a new home that will feature a coffee shop and gathering place open to the public.

“It’s more than just a shop. The coffee’s good, but it will go way beyond that,” said Martin Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Downtown Ministries.

The nonprofit organization runs the Mustard Seed Jam House, a Christian coffeehouse located on the basement level of a building at 214 Main St. The group’s board of directors decided it was time to move to a bigger site on street level, giving them more exposure to the public, Johnson said.

Downtown Ministries recently purchased a building at 172 Main St., which last housed a doctor’s office. The group is renovating the building to accommodate the Jam House and the Fresh Grounds Coffeehouse and Cafe.

The current Jam House is much smaller and open to the public during evenings only. The new location will be open all day to anyone wishing to have coffee and pastries in a relaxing and inviting Christian setting, Johnson said.

“We want to try and bring back that place where you can go unannounced. We’re encouraging loitering,” he said.

It’s impossible to say when the new place will open because Downtown Ministries needs to raise more money to finish the project and needs more volunteers to help complete the renovation, which is in the beginning stages.

“We are completely dependent upon the community to exist,” Johnson said, his voice echoing off the bare walls of the empty building.

They’ve secured a $100,000 loan and raised $39,000, but Johnson estimates they need an additional $40,000 to complete the renovations. They also need volunteers to help run the cafe once it opens.

Johnson said he has high hopes that the new cafe and Jam House will attract people of all faiths and ages.

Live entertainment will be offered several nights a week and comfortable couches and chairs, artwork and books will be spread throughout the building.

For parents, a play area for small children will also be available. Once the establishment gets on its feet, Johnson said he hopes to expand the menu to include soups and sandwiches.

Those who support Downtown Ministries are invited to tour the new facilities at 7 p.m. Tuesday or Thursday for an evening of music, testimony, fellowship and dessert. An RSVP is required by Saturday by calling 724-588-8171 or sending an e-mail to

Anyone wishing to help with renovations can e-mail Martin Johnson at or call him at 724-588-8171. Donations to support the project can be sent to Downtown Ministries Inc., 214 Main St., Suite 1, Greenville 16125. Make checks payable to Downtown Ministries.

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