For Kelly Wicks, proprietor with his wife Laura of Grounds for Thought in Bowling Green, the best way to
mark the coffee shop and used bookstore’s anniversary is to do what they’ve been doing for two decades.
"We smashed everything we do into four days," he said.
Though the shop has regularly hosted concerts, art shows, book signings and, of course, book sales, never
have the couple brought everything together in one weekend.
"It’s the first time we’ve tried anything this complex," Wicks said. "We just wanted to do
something beyond the ordinary."
Festivities start on Thursday with a free concert at 8 p.m. by a special surprise guest artist. Wicks is
not at liberty to name the artist ahead of time other to say the performer has previously appeared on
the main stage of the Black Swamp Arts Festival.
The shop’s deep ties to the festival will also be evident Saturday when the photographs taken by The Gang
of 35 are unveiled.
The Gang of 35 was a project conceived by Wicks that had three dozen or so photo enthusiasts ranging in
age from early teens to senior citizens taking photos of the festival. More than 1,000 photos snapped
during the 2009 festival will be on display.
Wicks, along with his mother Sandy, were among the founders of the event and he still serves as chairman
of the performing arts committee. As such, the stage set up in Grounds’ children’s book area frequently
hosts Black Swamp performers before and after their festival gigs.
Before the Gang of 35 unveiling there will be a birthday party featuring live music by Joe Baker and Bob
On Friday the Bowling Green High School Madrigals will unveiled their debut CD "Amped" with a
show at 8 p.m.
From the start used books were part of the mix. Now Grounds, after four expansions, has grown to be one
of the largest purveyors of used books in the region. Starting Saturday morning when the shop opens at 6
a.m. all books, movies, records and comics will be sold at half price.
Also two authors will be on hand Sunday to sign books – Lucy Long with "Regional American Food
Culture (Food Cultures in America)" from 4 to 6 p.m. and former Bowling Green resident Laura
Taylor’s "Memoirs of a Jackass" from 2 to 4 p.m.
The celebrations end on Sunday night with an acoustic jam session starting at 6 p.m. led by DJ Cole
Trickel from WBGU 88.1.
The coffee shop was started in fall, 1989 by Wicks, his sister Bridget and parents Gerry and Sandy. In
their travels they would encounter shops that served good coffee and were community gathering places. In
1991, Kelly and Laura Wicks bought the store.
In the intervening years, the shop has grown larger and added services. Now in addition to used books, it
sells second-hand comic books, movies on VHS and vinyl records.
Wicks also started roasting his own coffee, both for the shop and several other locations around town and
for retail sales. Tours of the roasting operation, demonstrations and the introduction of a new coffee
Bali Blue will be held Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
For all the changes, Wicks said, one aspect of the business has been constant. "Anyone for a dollar
cup of coffee can come in and sit and read the paper for an hour."