Organizer hopes new CommuniTea space in downtown Overland Park becomes ‘living room for the neighborhood’


It’s been nearly a year and a half since Great Day Cafe shut down on Santa Fe Drive in downtown Overland Park. On Friday, the space will reopen offering a similar mix of coffeeshop culture — but a noticeably different feel.

A group organized by Journey Community Church in Shawnee has transformed the space into a combination coffee and tea house it’s calling “CommuniTea.” Unlike a traditional coffee shop, though, CommuniTea is a registered non-profit organization. The goal, says Journey Community Church Pastor Wallace Smith, is to create a “living room for the neighborhood,” a place where people can “naturally connect.”

“A place like Starbucks is more about volume, where you’re going in, getting your coffee, and moving on,” Smith said. “We want this to be a place where you linger and stay.”

CommuniTea will feature fare from local providers, like Maps Coffee Roasters out of Lenexa and Kansas City-based Hugo Tea Company. It will also have pastries from McLain’s Bakery and likely some light breakfast and lunch fare that they will make on site. But Smith said he expects one of the biggest draws of the shop to be a welcoming atmosphere. The shop will feature spaces for co-working, as well as rooms groups can reserve for meetings. There will also be work from local artists on the walls, and live performances from time to time. Smith stressed that while the church had been the organizing force behind the idea, CommuniTea was not formally connected to the church.

“This is not going to be like a Christian coffee house,” he said. “The focus is more on just creating a spot where everyone in the neighborhood can meet and connect.”

CommuniTea will be open 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, but will be available to rent in the evenings for groups who would like to host events there. The shop will open to the public this Friday, Feb. 17.