New Grounds facility is new site for Living Waters Church

New Grounds facility is new site for Living Waters Church

Image Credit: Dave Mast

A building filled with plenty of local history went on the auction block on Wednesday, Dec. 28 when the current home of New Grounds Coffee House was sold during an intense evening of bidding.

Eventually, the two parcels, one containing the building property and close to 3 acres of land and the other a parcel of acreage of nearly 5.5 acres, sold for $1.056 million to Living Waters Church in Barrs Mill.

The building has been the home of New Grounds for more than two decades and also is the building that was the first home of Mark Coblentz, founder and CEO of Walnut Creek Foods.

It was there Coblentz got his start in building a business that has grown into a mainstay and has become a tourist destination.

The auction saw several bidders actively pursuing the purchase of the building and land put up for sale by Coblentz. Both properties eventually ended up in the possession of Living Waters, and Pastor Linus Troyer was excited his church was moving into a new phase.

“Our current church building is in really bad shape,” Troyer said. “But one thing we realize is that the church is not the building, but the people inside that make up the body of Christ.”

Troyer said they are looking forward to moving in to a facility they believe will suit the needs of the congregation quite well.

Troyer said they had been exploring many options including building a new church building, which they soon realized was going to cost a great deal more with the price of building material at an all-time high.

Thus they began seeking existing buildings and realized this property was exactly what they were looking for, with a room large enough to serve as a sanctuary.

Troyer said with a congregation consisting of families from Ragersville to Millersburg, the location is central to serving the congregation.

“That was one of the things we really liked about the location,” Troyer said.

He said they had no time table for the move and were not in any hurry to move in or to see New Grounds leave the premises. He said it was still possible New Grounds could remain in its current spot in the building.

“We have talked about all kinds of possibilities in utilizing the building for the church, but we remain open to discussing all possibilities,” Troyer said. “Right now we feel blessed, and we are overjoyed to have a new place to call home for our congregation.”

Living Waters began as a church in its current location in Barrs Mill in 1991, moving in when Barrs Mill Church of God relocated and built its own church building on state Route 93.

“Our current building has served us well,” Troyer said. “We’ve accomplished some neat things there, and we have done quite a bit of work on the building.”

Troyer said while they wait to move in to their new building, they will prepare to sell their old church and the parsonage next to it.

Kaufman Auction & Realty sold the property, with founder Dave Kaufman getting the call. Kaufman initially sold off the building and grounds, which went for $825,000, and then the acreage, which sold for $43,000 an acre for a total of $228,975.

Aside from New Grounds, Coblentz Chocolates also had office space downstairs. Both will be able to remain in place until at least April 1.

Kaufman said coming into the evening that if bidding was strong, it would surpass $1 million.

His experience proved to be prophetic.

The over 10,000-square-foot building where Coblentz began his career in foods saw him purchase the building and land decades ago. Despite it being the starting point in building his dream of Walnut Creek Foods, he said letting go was a fairly easy decision, noting it’s not the building but the many people and relationships that will remain in his heart.

“You know time passes and new challenges come up, so it wasn’t difficult for me to see it go,” Coblentz said. “I’m glad it stayed local, and I was pleased to see it purchased by a church. I am pleased about the way it went. There is some sentimentality, but I have no regrets. This building provided the start we needed to find our way, and we will always be grateful to the opportunity and the growth we’ve seen over the years.”

He said hopefully Living Waters will find the same path to growth and success he experienced many years ago when he called the building home.