Coffee on the Move

by | Jul 18, 2020 | Business, Food & Drink, Restaurants, Surf City

The Daily Grind’s new location is bigger and better for serving its loyal island patrons.

Grabbing a cup of coffee at The Daily Grind has been as much a part of Topsail Island life as flip-flops, sunglasses and beach chairs for a decade, but its new, spacious location makes it even more a part of the community. Within easy walking distance of the beach, it offers more space to enjoy coffee and a treat.

“We were popping at the seams,” says Tracey Shugarts, who owns the business with husband, Jeremy, recalling lines at the old location in a nearby strip mall. “We couldn’t order and store enough products to get us through a weekend.”


The shop, officially known as Daily Grind Coffee, Donuts and Ice Cream, is at 114 N. Topsail Drive in Surf City, in the space formerly occupied by Mermaid’s Purse. At 2,600 square feet it is nearly twice as large as the old location. It provides room for a colorful entry where 24 flavors of ice are sold and a separate seating area with cozy tables. There’s also a nook featuring facing sofas, chairs and a fireplace. Plans call for a 1,500-square-foot deck outside that may host live music during the summer months.

“The building was divided into about 20 small rooms,” Jeremy recalls. “We gutted the place. We reconfigured the layout, painted it, added new lights and made other improvements.”

The Daily Grind offers espresso, coffee, teas, iced lattes, ice coffees, iced teas, smoothies, frappes and fresh donuts. Customers with open laptops feel comfortable studying here, and friends gather to talk over a cup of coffee. A conference room that seats 12 is available for free use, but it must be reserved ahead of time. Photographs of the iconic, recently torn down Swing Bridge, aerial shots of Topsail Island, sunsets and sea life adorn the walls. Jeremy, who’s also a Surf City Councilman, greets many customers by name with a smile and a pat on the back.


“It has good coffee and good snacks, and a group of friends meet here every day,” says island resident Sloan Thigpen. “We feel really welcome here.”

The Shugarts’ journey into coffee started in 2009. After a trip to the Topsail area to visit relatives, the couple decided to relocate to escape the Ohio winters. Jeremy remembers moving to Topsail and not finding a convenient place for coffee.

“I was used to Starbucks. I used to go every day,” he says. “I couldn’t find one a local shop, so we opened a small place in 2010.”


The choice was unusual considering that Tracey is not a coffee drinker, but it was a smart move. The shop can see 1,000 people a day during peak summer season. During the summer, the part-time staff may reach nearly 30 people. Summer hours are 7 am to 8 pm on weekends and 7 am to 6 pm on weekdays. Hours may vary during peak season, and the only day they close is Christmas Day.

The Daily Grind Coffee, Donuts & Ice Cream
114 N. Topsail Drive, Surf City
(910) 541-0471
Facebook: @dailygrindsurfcity

Photography by Laura Glantz

About the author

Edward Wills

Edward Wills

Edward Wills is a writer living near Wilmington, NC. Current projects include an e-book on Social Security disability benefits and his autobiography.