Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Grounded: An NMSU Story – NMSU Round Up

Hailing from Las Cruces, Kendra Espiritu is making her dream come true by opening a wine and wood-fired pizza lounge called Grounded in downtown Las Cruces.

Espiritu, a New Mexico State University graduate studying international business, was inspired by her mother’s entrepreneurship to start her own coffee shop with her sister. Espiritu’s plans came after her father Tony Espiritu retired from his job as a firefighter and wanted to open a pizza food truck. The family decided to combine dreams and start the company.

“After all of the financials and blueprints and everything, it would cost as much as a brick and mortar, so we have [said]why don’t we just combine them and now it’s coffee, wine and pizza, ”said Espiritu.

The opening of the lounge during the COVID-19 pandemic posed challenges for the family, Espiritu said, but also opportunities.

“I was studying abroad when COVID happened. I had to completely change my clothes and come back, and it [caused] a lot of uncertainty, ”said Espiritu. “I had all of these plans after coming back from studying abroad, but [COVID] created this opportunity that would never have happened if these things hadn’t happened. “

Espiritu said NMSU and Studio G helped her offer resources and minimize the barriers people face in starting their business.

“I’m currently socializing to make new connections with business owners in the community as well as professors and other staff who may also be able to help along the way,” said Espiritu

Espiritu said her mother, Sandra Espiritu, inspired her to seek support from NMSU programs like Studio G after attending programs at the Arrowhead Center.

“She did her whole program that they helped a lot with, like mentoring, so she mentioned that to me and I said, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe I forgot that.’ After that process, they made it super easy for themselves, ”said Espiritu.

She hopes Studio G will help her secure financial opportunities like scholarships and student incentives while cultivating connections in the community.

Many of Espiritu’s dreams for space date from her student days.

“I was always looking for a place to study at night, but with friends where it was inviting. There was food and drink and I found myself at Starbucks thinking I don’t even like Starbucks, but it was the only place that was open very late, “Espiritu said. “So one thing is certain, we will really offer late-night services.”

Further goals of the lounge are the development of an integrative, community-oriented and sustainable space “in which everyone is welcome”.

The name Grounded, created by Espiritu and her sister five years ago, continues to resonate with Espiritu and has remained true to the past five years.

“[Grounded] is a lifestyle, a mindset, a mindset to be one where your roots are your culture and your community. To be grounded as a person, as an individual, no matter what, you know that everything will be fine. “ Spirit said.

For more information on the opening of Grounded, see Grounded Kickstarter.

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