The Grind Coffee Shop has expanded to the city of LaFayette and is already busy bringing a fresh and healthier taste to town.

The Grind first opened in Chickamauga at 104 Crittenden Ave. a little over a year and a half ago.

Owner Ashlea Bajner said the Chickamauga location receives so much business — including LaFayette residents — she decided, "Why not open in LaFayette?" and recently opened a second location at 2647 U.S. Highway 27.

Bajner said there is nothing like The Grind in either LaFayette or Chickamauga.

"We make everything fresh," she said. "We don't leave our coffee sitting in a pot all day and we only use healthy ingredients."

Only fresh fruits are used in the smoothies that are low calorie. The coffee is all organic and everything is made to order.

"It takes a little bit longer, but at least you know what you are getting is fresh," Bajner said. "When you enjoy what you are doing, it doesn't feel like work."

Fresh cupcakes — also used as ingredients in the smoothies — are prepared in the mornings at The Grind, thanks to help from Southern Bliss Bakery.

"It smells like coffee and cupcakes in the morning," Bajner said.

Bajner and her family moved from the Florida Keys to the area about three years ago, and said everyone has been so welcoming to her and her staff.

The Chickamauga location opened its doors on Dec. 1, 2016, and within a year received "Best of the Best" honors.

Since opening July 22, the LaFayette coffee spot has stayed very busy.

The Grind in LaFayette has a four-person staff and is open weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The shop is closed on Sundays.

Some of the most popular items on the menu include the Blackberry Cobbler Latte, The Panda (a sweet dark and white chocolate flavor), the Pina Colada Smoothie, the Dragonfruit Smoothie, the Cereal Killer Milkshake (cereal is ground up into the hand-dipped milkshakes), the Mermaid Lemonade and the very popular Unicorn Frappuccino.

Bajner said The Grind loves their customers and has a first name basis relationship with them.

If someone has a dog in their vehicle, the staff will take the canine a dog bone treat with whipped cream in a cup, so even the dogs know where they are going when the customer pulls up to the shop, she said.

A lot of stray kittens frequent the shops, so The Grind will place them in a large coffee mug and snap a photo to post to Facebook in hopes that someone will come take the kittens as pets.

The Grind has even collected donations for customers who lost their home in a fire.

The Grind also offers military, law enforcement, first responders, firefighters, 911 dispatchers discounts on their purchases at both locations since the inception of the Chickamauga shop first started.

The Grind is always creating new and unique flavors to their menu that they post on social media. To place orders or contact The Grind in LaFayette, call 706-620-2461.

"We don't just want to be here, we want to be involved here and help other small businesses," Bajner said. "A lot of people from LaFayette already know us from Chickamauga. But those who don't, come check us out. You won't be disappointed. We can't wait to meet you."

Josh O'Bryant is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He can be reached at the Walker County Messenger office at 706-638-1859 and by email at jobryant@npco.com.