By Nick Diamantides
It’s a Grind Coffee House, which operates several stores in the Long Beach/Signal Hill area, recently merged with Gloria Jeans Coffee, a corporation based in Australia. It’s a Grind was founded by husband and wife entrepreneurs Marty Cox and Louise Montgomery in 1994, and its first location was the store at 5933 East Spring Street in Long Beach.
Today the chain operates more than 90 stores in 12 states, including about 15 in Long Beach and the surrounding cities.
The stores have become popular neighborhood coffee houses featuring large, comfortable seating and an eclectic blend of recorded music. The chain is famous for its high-quality Arabica coffee beans, which it micro-roasts in order to be able to serve coffee within days of roasting. According to the company website, the process ensures fresh, smooth flavorful coffee.
The website also contains a statement promising that It’s a Grind “will provide a warm, comfortable environment, kept spotlessly clean and well maintained.” It adds that It’s a Grind selects only the finest coffee beans from around the world and serves high-quality handcrafted beverages and pastries.
It’s a Grind offers specialty coffees, traditional espresso, ice blended coffee drinks, tea, tea-based drinks, hot roasted bagels, muffins, scones and other bakery items.
According to Carl Mount, Gloria Jeans president and CEO in North America, who spoke from his office in Irvine, most It’s a Grind stores only sell products from their facilities, but, because most of the stores are independently owned and operated, some offer delivery services to local businesses in their area. “It’s a Grind sells its whole-bean coffee online at itsagrind.com,” he added. “Gloria Jeans also sells its coffees online at gloriajeans.com. “
Gloria Jeans was founded in 1979 in Long Grove, Illinois by Gloria Jeans Kvetko. During the past 30 years, the company has grown into a multinational corporation with more than 1,000 stores located in various countries. Approximately 500 Gloria Jeans coffee houses operate in Australia, and more than 100 operate in the United States.
Mount explained that Gloria Jeans and It’s a Grind are now subsidiaries of a holding company called Praise International North America, Inc., which purchased Gloria Jeans from Diedrich Coffee, also based in Irvine, in May 2009. Mount is also president and CEO of Praise International North America, Inc.
“Both Gloria Jeans and It’s a Grind will be run separately from each other and there are no plans to convert or merge the brands together,” Mount said. “We strive to make our brands the most loved and respected coffee house brands in the world. We serve the highest quality coffees with outstanding and personalized service in a vibrant store environment.”
Mount noted that Praise International does not disclose data related to sales and consumption of the products sold by It’s a Grind or Gloria Jeans. He added that he could not divulge how much Gloria Jeans paid for It’s a Grind.
Montgomery said that while she and Cox are no longer managing It’s a Grind, they are now shareholders in the company and they will not be strangers to the coffee houses. “You will see us as customers at some of the stores,” she said. “We love our coffee.”