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Grounded in spirit, Las Cruces family supports downtown


Garrett (from left), Sandra, Tony, Kendra and Kaitlin Espiritu

The idea of opening a coffee lounge did not happen overnight for the Espiritu family, owners of Grounded in Las Cruces. The family had a goal of opening a coffee, wine and wood-fired pizza lounge, a space that would appeal to the Las Cruces downtown and NMSU community. 

The Espiritu family, Tony ’98 and Sandra ’04, and children Kendra ’22, Kaitlin, an NMSU student, and Garrett, who will attend NMSU in fall 2024, are Las Cruces natives.

“We wanted to do this for our community,” Sandra says. “People can sense that it is an authentic business.”

In every new place the family traveled to, they would visit a local coffee shop and make a list of their favorites. This travel tradition led to the idea of opening their own business, and even the name, Grounded, originated on one of their trips 10 years ago. 

“We just made it part of our trips all the time,” Sandra says. “Kendra and Kaitlin got super inspired and said they wanted to open a coffee shop someday, and that’s been a goal since they were probably 8 years old. It just became a family thing and kind of evolved.” 

In 2021, the Espiritus rented out the Grounded building, but later decided to purchase the entire plaza connected to it. 

“I have been coming to this plaza since I was 9 years old, so we knew the past owner really well,” Sandra says. “It’s turned into such a great collaborative space for other small businesses.”  

When Kendra was pursuing her degree in international business, she utilized NMSU’s Arrowhead Center’s resources and created a business plan. This helped with the process of jumping into an unfamiliar industry. 

“It is a little challenging to find all the resources, so it was nice to have a place where everything was concentrated,” Kendra says.

Not only did they bring their unique spin into the business, but also their Mexican-American heritage. While the lounge’s logo resembles the Catholic Sacred Heart, they made the symbol their own by adding elements of their family’s culture.  

“We’re literally on the corner of Las Cruces and Main Street, so it is like the heart of downtown,” Sandra says.

Skeptics doubted the Espiritus could succeed with their plant-based coffee bar and distinctive menu, but the local business has had continuous foot traffic since it opened. 

“I think that’s what gravitates people to us is that it’s a small, family-owned business that’s doing good and not a corporate business,” Tony says. “We’re coming out there with a passion to provide a community.”