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Staff photo by Emily Crisman / Vinny Tortora stands behind the counter of Farm to Med, High Grounds and Belle Chocolates' new shared space in North Chattanooga.

What do a local coffee shop, CBD store and chocolatier have in common? A common space on North Market Street if the purveyors in question are High Grounds Coffee, Farm to Med and Belle Chocolates.

All three also target the same clientele: people who appreciate quality, locally produced products, said Farm to Med owner Chris Sumrell.

High Grounds Director of Operations Justin Mulloy said he'd toyed around with the idea of offering CBD to customers at the first High Grounds location, opened at the foot of Signal Mountain last March. When he contacted Sumrell about wholesale pricing, Sumrell proposed Mulloy start selling coffee out of Farm to Med's new North Chattanooga space. Sumrell invited Belle Chocolates, which needed a commercial kitchen, to share the space as well.

"All three businesses get one really great location with lots of foot traffic," said Sumrell, whose business also has retail shops on Hixson Pike and in Dayton.

By sharing the space, the business owners are able to afford to be in an area where rents are often cost-prohibitive for small local businesses, Mulloy explained.

Grand opening

The three businesses are holding a grand opening event at the shared space Saturday, Nov. 9 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. There will be live music and freebies.

Farm to Med also gets the benefit of being not just a retail store, but a coffee shop where people can hang out.

"We'd like the space to end up being a meeting space for the neighborhood," Sumrell said.

This is a big plus for a business that involves educating many of its customers about its product, which is true for all three businesses, he added.

"Education is key to understanding the quality you're getting," Mulloy said, referencing High Grounds' coffee. Locally roasted by Mad Priest, the lineup includes custom blends like the new "Ascent," as well as pastries from Red Bank business Bread and Butter.

Besides sharing a space and mission, the businesses are also incorporating each others' products into their own. For instance, Belle is offering cannabis chocolates, and High Grounds gives customers the option to add CBD to their coffee drinks.

Farm to Med grows its cannabis locally off of Amnicola Highway and in Rhea and Sequatchie counties, and processes it locally as well, said Sumrell.

Belle Chocolates sources its cacao beans from Peru, as they can't be grown locally, but the chocolates are made in-house using organic sugar.

The new retail space is at 502 N. Market St. and can be reached at 541-3157.

Mulloy said he also plans to offer Farm to Med's CBD products at High Grounds' Signal Mountain Road location, as well as from the mobile unit he plans to set up around town and rent out for weddings and events.

Email Emily Crisman at ecrisman@timesfreepress.com

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