I noticed that Ground Control has been featured in the newspaper. Congratulations on the press!

Brewing up community

Annemarie Moody
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 14, 2007

With a European sensibility, Ground Control in Goodyear is both a cozy neighborhood coffee shop and an urban wine bar with live music three nights a week.

Goodyear residents Sean and Tara Rassas opened Ground Control Coffee, Wine and Gelato Lounge on June 30.

The couple met while attending the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Sean now is stationed at Luke Air Force Base and is flying F-16s.

They got the idea to open a wine bar while living in Germany, then decided to combine it with a coffee lounge.

“In Europe, the coffeehouses were really community-centric. We wanted to re-create that here,” he said. The couple have lived in Goodyear for two years and have spent much of that time working on getting Ground Control off the ground.

The Rassases employ experienced baristas who turn the French-pressed espresso drinks into something special with flavors such as mango, coconut and pistachio. For an extra coffee treat, several baristas can design the foam to look like anything from a heart to a tiger.

Ground Control barista Steve Kelly has 21 years of experience to offer customers of the lounge, in a shopping center on the northwestern corner of Litchfield and Indian School roads.

The lounge’s unusual features and products include a coffee-bean-shaped center counter, freshly made Italian gelato, imported beers on tap, a nearly completed bar with 110 wine bottles, local art and music, specialty beers on tap and tasty panini sandwiches and pastries.

The Rassases want the lounge to be the place people come to hang out, have a drink and talk with their friends, family and neighbors.

“Business has been steadily increasing,” Sean said. “Customers are already good at being regulars and are loyal to locally owned businesses.”

One thing you won’t find is Wi-Fi. Sean said he’s resisting the idea of people on their computers because “we already sit all day in front of them.” They want their customers to talk to one another and enjoy the atmosphere.

Tara said the cozy corner booths are the most popular, especially favored by the weekend crowd.

Ground Control is the Rassases’ first business venture, but they relish the opportunity to bring their overseas experiences to the Southwest Valley. Their 7-year-old daughter, Sydney, has already been to 35 countries.

The couple’s other children, Cole, 3, and Connor, 2, spend time with their parents at the lounge, taking advantage of a children’s play area in thront corner.

A private meeting and party room should be finished by early September, adding to the something-for-everyone attitude at the lounge.

Ground Control
14140 W. Indian School
Suite B1
Goodyear, AZ 85395
Phone: (623) 935-2604

Arizona Coffee

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  1. No WiFi.. I dig it.

    How has it effected business? How have customers responded?

    Just curious. I hate going into a shop and seeing a frozen sea of laptops.

  2. Jason,
    This was a great area of debate while we were laying the groundwork for Ground Control. Wi-Fi. Sean and I have been against it from the get go and have had a lot of people try to change our minds.

    We are very happy not to have it. The way the tables are set up really encourages customers to interact and we have exceptional baristas that are working on their latte art, garnishings and foam etchings that spur a lot of converstaion between customers.

    We have had a few customers ask if we have wi-fi, but no complaints about not having it. Business is steady and improves daily with a lot of groups coming in together.

    At this point, though early on, I would have to say the lack of wi-fi has created a more inviting and welcoming atmosphere that makes people more comfortable, as everyone is not hiding behind a laptop. We enjoy that our customers just relax and take in their surroundings.

    The other aspect of wi-fi for our business is the wine bar. On the weekends we get very busy and can’t accomodate squatters who are not there for the music, atmosphere or socializing.

    Thanks for the interest. We really appreciate the amazing response we have received from the community. We feel very supported and hope to give back to the community as our business grows.

    Kind regards,
    Tara Rassas, Owner
    Ground Control

  3. Josh

    Tara, I just have to say that i was in there for an audition with matt about two weeks ago and the atmosphere is exceptional. It’s a very relaxing place and i have to say of all the coffee shops i’ve been in this one takes the cake. The set up is awesome and the staff is extremely friendly. I look forward to being there friday night. see you then

  4. Sheesh, Estrella War moves from Goodyear at the same time they get a coffeeshop with a barista that has USBC aspirations. Ain’t that just the way that the world goes? The frist new thing that the website needs is a link to a map so we can find you!
    The OTC

  5. Andrew.

    I was in Ground Control last night [Saturday 9/22]. Loved every minute of it. The employees, drinks, gelato, the entertainment and ESPECIALLY the atmosphere. I spend a lot of offtime in coffee places, It’s A Grind mostly, and had never loved it as much as I did your place. My friend and I are going to come back a lot; you’ve got yourself a loyal customer already….and I’ve only been there once. Keep up the amazing work!