A big Crimson Cup welcome to Smoky Mountain Espresso Coffee & Tea in Sevierville, Tennessee, which has joined the group of independent coffee shops, cafés and bakeries that Crimson Cup supports in 37 states. The shop at 1259 Middle Creek Road is one of more than 15 new independent coffee shops that opened in 2018 through our coffee shop franchise alternative program.
“We’re excited to welcome Owners Michael & Karen Williams and their team to the Crimson Cup community,” said Founder and President Greg Ubert. “Helping entrepreneurs like Michael and Karen open their own unique independent coffee shops is a big part of our mission as a coffee roaster and coffee shop franchise alternative.”
Smoky Mountain Espresso Coffee & Tea got its start when the couple was looking for a quality business to pair with their Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt franchise. The franchise was housed in a custom built dual-usage commercial property with a drive-thru.
“When our business consultant asked why we wanted to start a coffee shop, I responded, ‘I can’t find a good cup of coffee!’” Karen said. “I was thinking, ‘If I can’t find it, there are probably other folks looking for it, too.’”
With little knowledge about the specialty coffee trade, the couple began searching for advice on how to open a coffee shop. “We love great coffee but dislike the major chains,” Michael said. “We wanted to create a super friendly warm atmosphere with a great product where you can enjoy your customers. And of course we want to make more money!”
A web search connected them with Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea and our 7 Steps to Success coffee franchise alternative program. Based on Greg’s book, Seven Steps to Success in the Specialty Coffee Industry, the 7 Steps program has helped hundreds of independent coffee shops open and stay and business.
“Having no coffee experience I would have never opened a shop had I not found Crimson Cup,” Michael said. “Crimson Cup offered everything we need … service, expertise, quality and thorough help!”
As they worked through the 7 Steps, the couple found Step 3, “Get the Right Coffee Shop Products and Equipment,” most helpful in opening their coffee shop. They said the company supported them at every step of the way. “Accessibility of help, ease of ordering, professionalism, training and superiority of products are among the reasons we love doing business with Crimson Cup!” Karen said.
Smoky Mountain Espresso serves a full menu of hot, iced and frozen espresso drinks – including mochas, lattes and cappuccinos – as well as iced coffee and tea, cold-brewed coffee, hot chocolate, fruit smoothies and other custom drinks. The shop also has Crimson Cup Nitro cold brew on tap. An assortment of fresh-baked muffins, bagels and other goodies from Crust & Crumb Bakery in nearby Gatlinburg rounds out the menu.
The signature Smoky Mountain Mocha Freeze, which blends white chocolate and caramel sauces with espresso and ice, has been a big hit with the Williams and their customers.
The coffee, roasted by Crimson Cup, has won rave reviews from local coffee lovers, Karen said. “Our customers say the coffee is the best they’ve ever had and that we are the best coffee shop they’ve ever visited.”
With over 100 reviews, the shop has a 4.94 rating on Facebook.
When asked for advice for aspiring coffee shop owners, Michael said, “Spend the extra on creating the right atmosphere. It’s paying off for us!”
“Definitely add the Nitro Cold Brew,” he added. “It’s a big hit and great connecting and talking point. I also advise a drive-thru if at all possible.”
We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Michael, Karen and the Smoky Mountain Espresso team. Follow their Facebook page to keep up with their growth.