The Ground-A-Bout is a daily must-stop for many in Jackson. The cozy, friendly vibe is the first thing people notice when they step inside, even before they get a taste of the drinks—then the caffeine hits the bloodstream and an even more positive association with the place is formed! This whole-package experience has fostered tons of loyal patrons who come in day after day, changing from customers into friends. But according to co-owner Bob Schooley, the most regular “regular” of them all is Cody Polley.
Cody is a K-9 officer with the Jackson Police Department, and he comes in every day for a coffee and some banter. The police station is only a few blocks down the road from the shop, so it’s an easy stop to make on the way to and from shifts. Cody’s drink of choice is a pour over or an Americano, black, and every so often a cold brew, also black (He did not add “like my soul,” but I think he wanted to.) “You gotta have coffee to get through the day,” he says, in the deadpan way he’s become famous for around the shop.
Before the Ground-A-Bout, there wasn’t anywhere in Jackson to get a well-crafted cup of coffee, so when Cody heard about the grand opening, he was there day one, part of the line that snaked out the door and onto the sidewalk. That first day of operations was understandably imperfect—Cody recalls that the bean grinder wasn’t working right and there was some stress all around—but he quickly jived with the non-corporate, homey quality of the shop and kept coming back.
Now he spends most days in the shop. “They don’t let you leave,” he said. (I asked him to blink twice if he was being held against his will—only one blink, but he hesitated a little.) Cody’s family joins him often. Meghan, his wife, is a math teacher at Jackson High School, and they have two sons, Zeke and Crosby. Zeke, who is two, usually sticks to milk, and sometimes a cookie from co-owner “Eena” (Serena), who is usually giving lots of hugs and love when Zeke and Crosby are around. Crosby is too little for cookies for now, but he’s sure to get plenty as well when he’s old enough.
During his interview, Cody got a few assists from his shop friends—Bob, Serena, Jayson, and Autumn helped him choose a photo to accompany this story. “Use your profile picture! That’s a really good one.” Personally, I was very interested in a photo of his K-9 dog, Beny, who is a very, very good boy and great at his job. (So maybe I wanted to interview Beny more than Cody, but we can’t always get what we want, can we?) The peanut gallery provided a lot of interview commentary, mostly, “Hey, write that down!” or “That was bad—I should think before I speak” followed by “Maybe don’t write that one down.”
Since Cody is basically a shop expert, he has a few recommendations for a first-time visitor. Block out some time so you can “come in and sit down for a bit, take it all in, and talk to the folks.” Cody is a man of few words, so I’ll go ahead and add that you should probably get a drink as well—the lattes are excellent—and a cinnamon roll or piece of cake. Cody says the best thing about the shop is that “you never know what will be happening here,” which can mean a movie quote-off, discussion of how to solve the world’s problems, or even yoga in the hallway.
The regulars are a tight-knit group, but they all agree that there is always more room at their table. So stop in, get a drink, have a seat, and join the madness.