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Meet Madison Santos of Picnic Grounds in Lancaster

Today we’d like to introduce you to Madison Santos.

Madison, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
In college I was always torn between two things. On the many beautiful days granted in Flagstaff, Arizona, all I wanted to do was be outside. But more often than not, I would succumb to assignment deadlines, work tasks and to-do lists that required me to be inside. I spent most of my time in cafes cozying up with good coffee and even better Wi-Fi. It wasn’t a miserable undertaking by any means, but as my depravation from nature grew, so did my cravings for it. I found myself sneaking in picnics at the park any chance I could. Just 10 minutes of sitting under a tree and breathing in the fresh air felt like medicine to my lungs and skin, but a busy schedule meant these precious moments were always cut too short.

That’s when a spark started flickering in my head. I just wanted a place where I could do all the things I would in a normal cafe, only outside. LIGHTBULB! Why not create that place myself?

Eventually, Picnic Grounds will be an outdoor cafe situated on a lot of land, full of shade trees and grass. A spot where we can indulge in yummy food and drink, soak in some vitamin D, and get work done on our laptops. The intention is to make the outdoors an effortless addition to our DAILY lives, without sacrifice.

When I moved to California in 2016, I wasn’t sure where to start on this journey. I ended up meeting a local roaster, learned a TON about coffee and started selling it at outdoor events! Picnic Grounds has since turned into a mobile coffee, tea & mylk bar, with the end goal of being an outdoor cafe.

I never thought I would own my own business. I just decided to scratch my own itch and the itch of many other professionals, students and parents with busy schedules. This journey has been more fulfilling than I could’ve ever imagined, and it is just the beginning!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There have been a few bumps along the way, but the biggest bump thus far has also had the biggest return. I have yet to share this story with anyone outside my family and close friends, but I will share it here in case there is even the slightest chance that it may help or comfort those going through something similar.

Last year, I hired a company in Texas to build a brand NEW custom coffee trailer for Picnic Grounds. Making PG more mobile was exciting, as it would allow us to reach more people and increase our growth potential! When I received my trailer on the 1st of this year, it took no time at all to discover that this company gave me a USED product in need of repair. Unfortunately, there was no cooperation with my return/refund request, and I had to take legal action.

Filing a law suit is something I never thought I’d go through, especially during my first year of business! I lost money, I lost all the time spent planning and waiting for the trailer, and worst of all I lost the use of my trailer. Sounds like a bit of a headache, right? It definitely was at first.

But in the end, I truly believe that I have gained more from this experience than lost.

I immediately learned a few core lessons about doing business with others. I learned how to ask people for help when in need. I learned a ton about legal matters. I learned to stick up for myself. I’ve learned patience. I’ve witnessed the power of positive thinking, gratitude, and prayer. I’ve been forced to focus on the areas of my business that I was neglecting while preoccupied with this trailer. I have grown my business even without the trailer. And best of all, I have been given a second chance to start over and do things right. Sometimes you just need a practice round, and I think that’s what life was giving me.

So has the road been smooth? Not a chance. But I wouldn’t have it any other way 😉

Please tell us about Picnic Grounds.
Picnic Grounds currently acts as a mobile coffee, tea & mylk bar. We liven up events and gatherings with incredible beverages and service. We offer full-service bars (with barista) and self-serve bars. We also have a growler program which is perfect for people who just want to enjoy PG cold brew, iced tea or golden mylk at home!

I think we are best known for our house-made syrups, which are made with natural sweeteners and are designed to complement the drinks rather than over power them. The 2 most requested flavors this season were the “Fresh Mint” (made from agave nectar and mint leaves) and the “Cinnamon Vanilla” (made from raw honey, pure maple syrup and Mexican vanilla). People are always surprised when they taste our drinks and then learn what simple, healthy ingredients make them so yummy.

As someone who knew nothing about business before starting one, I am just proud to see what Picnic Grounds has become. Pride isn’t the right word though, because I have had SO much help along the way. I think grateful is a more fitting way to describe how I feel about the Picnic Grounds journey. I am so beyond grateful for this opportunity to create something in this world. Creating something that other people use is one hell of an experience. It’s almost like watching people enjoy a little piece of you. It feels like love. With that being said, I am also beyond grateful for all the people who have supported PG, and for all the people I will get to meet in the future because of PG!

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Playing outside… DUH!

Pricing:

  • 32 oz. Growler – Black Cold Brew : $16 ($11 for refills)
  • 32 oz. Growler – Infused Cold Brew : $17 ($12 for refills)
  • 32 oz. Growler – Golden Mylk : $17 ($12 for refills)
  • 32 oz. Growler – Iced Tea : $16 ($11 for refills)

Contact Info:

  • Address: 843 W Ave L Unit 7
    Lancaster, CA 93534
  • Website: www.picnic-grounds.com
  • Phone: 4805401143
  • Email: picnicgrounds@gmail.com

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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