This article was originally published in Charlotte Business Journal on June 5, 2019 here:

Cafe to open first Charlotte-area location, more planned

Indian Land will soon add a globally inspired coffee shop, which won’t be the last of its kind for the Charlotte area.

Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea is preparing to open this summer in the RedStone development, near S.C. Highway 160 and U.S. Highway 521 in northern Lancaster County, just across the state line from Charlotte.

Franchise owner Ryan Harrah told the Charlotte Business Journal he is planning to soft open the shop July 28 and will hold a charity event that day, with all proceeds going to a local nonprofit. A week of grand-opening specials and promotions is slated to begin Aug. 3.

The cafe will occupy a nearly 2,200-square-foot space at 9623 Red Stone Drive, offering a variety of coffee, tea and pastries on a menu that pulls inspiration from countries around the globe.

Harrah, a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, said the shop will be the first of three locations in the Charlotte area. He is actively searching for the next two sites.

Harrah has no prior background in restaurants. He said he was drawn to Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea, in part, because of its focus on community and emphasis on interaction. For example, the cafe will be able to source food from local businesses to carry in its own shop, he said.

“I was drawn to Sweetwaters because of their mission, real ingredients and positive atmosphere,” Harrah said in a news release. “I look forward to sharing that positivity with the guests.”

Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea is in the process of opening another location in Columbia, South Carolina, later this summer and has 32 stores open nationwide.

The company was founded in 1993 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, by Wei and Lisa Bee and is heavily focused on expansion. It has more than 100 planned locations throughout the country.