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Global Infusion owners open up about shop's origins and future

The ladies of Global Infusion discuss the business' principles, as well as its transformation and future.
Global Infusion co-owners Hively and Grilley

Global Infusion co-owners Hively and Grilley /Ryan Hagerman

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More information on Global Infusion

Holiday Hours:

Monday-Thursday: 9:00-7:00

Friday: 9:00-6:00

Saturday: 9:00-5:00

Sunday (through Dec. 23) 10:00-2:00


Christmas Eve: 9:00-3:00

Christmas Day and December 26- Closed


Global Infusion is located at 143 Diamond SE in Eastown

(616) 776-9720


Hively behind the counter

Hively behind the counter /Ryan Hagerman

“Well, we make the best chai in this city... but that really goes without saying,” jokes Joana Hively, co-owner of local fair trade shop Global Infusion.

Hively and her best friend Beth Grilley have co-owned Global Infusion since they opened the shop in 2004. Discussions of starting a business began on a theoretical level as the two friends communicated from across the country and started brainstorming for the future.

“She was working for a fair trade store in Columbus, OH and I was in California studying herbs for a bit, and was gonna’ have myself a little herb store,” explains Grilley. “We decided to mingle our ideas together and came up with this. And as far as the fair trade piece it was one of those things where it’s just words at first, but then as you learn more about what it entails it becomes a lifestyle.”

Fair trade specifically entails ensuring that the profits from any given item actually make it back to the person who made it, wherever they are in the world. Organizations that manufacture fair trade goods are committed to paying their workers fair wages and attempting to promote sustainability on a global and local scale.

Hively had been working for the same fair trade organization in Columbus, OH for several years, and continues to feel strongly about the importance of fair trade.

“It was a really good fit for me,” says Hively. “I felt really passionate about it. When I was getting ready for a change Beth was coming back to Grand Rapids. I wasn’t anticipating coming back here until we started talking about it, and I just started getting more and more inspired. We just decided to blend what we were both doing at the time, and it seemed like a really natural fit.”

In addition to the wide array of fair trade goods Hively has brought to the table, the store provides a huge collection of fair trade teas and Grilley has stocked an extensive herb collection that has grown over the years as customers have continued to request new additions. But perhaps best known is the shop’s coffee bar, where they serve an array of fair trade coffees, various espresso drinks, and their house brewed chai.

“It was more of an afterthought,” says Grilley of the coffee bar. “It took off. [But] that’s why our hours are a little more retail-y than coffee.”

“It was definitely an afterthought,” agrees Hively, “but it’s been great. It kind of has brought the community aspect to the shop more than we ever imagined. [You] have a chat here and there and you get to know people more; definitely more than I think if we didn’t have the coffee bar part.”

Both Hively and Grilley agree that the business wouldn’t be where it is today without the East Grand Rapids community, which they say has been supportive of their shop from the outset.

“We feel so supported,” says Hively. “From day one people came in and smiled and said, ‘Oh, we’re so glad you’re here. This is great!’”

When looking toward the future of their store, Grilley and Hively are both planning to continue approaching Global Infusion much as they have been for the past eight years.

“There was never one preconceived thought on what [the business] would be other than the undercurrent of it,” says Grilley. “We’ve just kind of morphed as time has gone on.”

“Yeah,” Hively agrees. “It’s funny because we’ve never had like, ‘in five years this is what we want, and in ten years this is what we want’. For both of us I  think I can fairly say that it’s crazy that it’s been eight years and we’re still here. But every year we set intentions of changes we want to see. And we’ve always been open to change as it comes.”

“Like this little change, here,” says Grilley, smiling at Hively’s few-month-old son.

“Yes! Like this change,” says Hively. “We’ve just tried to maintain that openness with how [the store’s] changing on its own, and then just kind of roll with it.”

Despite the success Global Infusion has had, Grilley says there are no plans to open up a second location.

“We never think about another location,” says Grilley. “We’re not looking to kind of branch out into being big business owners.”

“That was something we talked about in the very beginning,” says Hively. “Before we went further we made kind of a pact that we really didn’t want to be owned by our business. And of course there are times when you’re putting in 110% and you’re busier than you’d like to be. But we’ve always tried to maintain that: taking time for ourselves and not letting the business own us at all times because we see a lot of that. And life’s too short.”

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I love Global Infusion - but I'm in it for the herbs, not that the tea isn't great too.