GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Michigan-based nonprofit will open a new coffee shop at Veterans Memorial Park next month.

News 8 first reported on the project last year. Since then, Has Heart leased and renovated the unused, historical building located across from The Apartment Lounge near the intersection of Sheldon Avenue and Library Street.

Has Heart is a nonprofit organization that helps bridge the gap between veterans’ lives and the civilian world through art.

“Has Heart came about from a conversation over coffee,” said co-founder Tyler Way.

He and navy veteran Michael Hyacinthe met more than a decade ago. During their conversation over coffee, Way was surprised to learn of the many veterans’ voices and stories that needed to be told.

The pair discovered graphic design, art and photography were helpful portals for veterans to express their feelings and tell stories of their past.

“Part of our work is allowing veterans to tell their stories. Their stories of trauma, their stories of military sexual trauma and PTSD,” said local artist and veterans advocate Pamela Alderman.

Alderman partnered with Kent County Veterans Services last ArtPrize to curate military-based pieces at Veterans Memorial Park. The park has served as a venue and space for veterans’ advocacy for years.

But come next month, there will be a permanent fixture for veterans to tell their stories while inviting the community in for a cup of coffee.

“A coffee shop is a gathering place for the community, and it makes a lot of sense because our aim is to bring veterans and civilians together,” Way said. “If we can do that now on a daily basis over a cup of coffee then that’s just a great way to bridge that divide.”

A soft opening is planned for Memorial Day. The coffee shop will be run by veterans and their family members. It will also include an outdoor patio that can sit about 20 people during the warmer months.