One of the things I admire the most about New Bedford is the melting pot of restaurants and authentic cuisine.

From beverage shops and cafes to fine dining, there truly is something for everyone. For me, I'm a sucker for a barista who knows how to make a good cup of coffee, and when it comes to sweets, I have a mighty tooth.

Coincidentally, a new coffee business just opened up and it's the latest to join alongside New Bedford's working waterfront. It's called Ground Floor Coffee and they have quite a unique style for a cafe.

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Owners Melanie and Jason Peppin switched on the open sign for the first time on Thursday, June 22nd for their soft opening, and the crowd quickly found their way.

Gazelle/Townsquare Media
Gazelle/Townsquare Media

Ground Floor Coffee not only grinds and roasts its own coffee beans in-house, but they also cater to the Vegan and vegetarian community with oat milk-based products such as lattes, cappuccinos, shakes, and even ice cream. Yes, ice cream.

Currently, there are only two "mod bars" (under-counter coffee brewing systems) on the Massachusetts seaboard. One in Boston and one here in New Bedford. It allows the customers to get the full coffee brewing experience and looks fancy on the countertop.

Now for the best part- the ice cream.

Gazelle/Townsquare Media
Gazelle/Townsquare Media

Ground Floor serves up ice cream that's made with oat milk rather than cream in-house for a low-fat indulgence that's about the creamiest around. As of now, they are only serving chocolate, but plan on adding more than just one flavor to the menu.

"From the time I was nine years old, I always wanted to open a coffee shop," Mel said, "At 16, I had my first job at a coffee company and worked there until I was 24 before leaving to finish up my schooling."

Before Ground Floor, the Peppins cofounded Behavioral Connections in New Bedford, North Dartmouth, and Bridgewater back in 2007 providing "home-based and center-based medically necessary applied behavior analysis (ABA) services to all ages with language and social deficits".

As soon as the building beside the New Bedford Behavioral Connections location went up for sale back in 2017 and that's around the time the Peppins' began formulating the blueprints and plans for the quaint coffee shop.

"We wanted to renovate the place with plans to open around the end of 2019, but Covid hit and put a stop to the project," Melanie said,  We didn’t think we’d ever come back to it, but then we pulled the trigger and here we are."

The Peppins pride themselves on being a family-first business. Together they have three boys and two of them are 16 so it allows Melanie and Jason to give them some working experience alongside their 17-year-old niece. The same mindset is also incorporated within Behavioral Connections.

They are currently working on hiring select members of Behavioral Connections with different disabilities as a joint partnership between the two businesses. This will provide real-world experiences as well as a job with responsibilities for the new hires.


I recently popped in to try their deliciously refreshing chocolate espresso affogato and chatted with Shift Supervisor Alexis Partington and Barista Tanner Rosa.

“We’re so happy to be a part of a new edition to the community and we can’t wait to meet and see new faces," Partington said.

Located at 61 Merrills Wharf, Ground Floor Coffee Shop's current soft-open hours are 8 AM - 5 PM Sunday-Sunday, and plans to eventually extend its hours to 5:30 AM - 5 PM.

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