Coffee Shop Success Story: The Broken Mug Celebrates 5th Anniversary

January 11, 2023 (Published: April 8, 2022)
Todd and Mandy Tuls, owners of The Broken Mug Coffee Shop in Columbus, Nebraska

Todd and Mandy Tuls, owners of The Broken Mug Coffee Shop in Columbus, NebraskaAs The Broken Mug coffee shop prepared to celebrate its fifth anniversary, Owner Mandy Tuls reflected on the independent coffee shop’s growth, its role in the small community of Columbus, Nebraska, and its relationship with Crimson Cup.

Mandy and her husband Todd Tuls learned how to open a coffee shop through our 7 Steps to Success coffee shop start-up program.

“Congratulations to Owners Mandy and Todd Tuls, General Manager Angey Johnson, Manager Brookelyn Adams-Tuls, Manager Zoe Crumb, Kitchen Manager Shayla Maslonka and their team for reaching their fifth anniversary!” said Crimson Cup Founder and President Greg Ubert.

“It’s been a privilege to guide them from startup through their continuing success, and we look forward to supporting their future growth.”

Following the 7 Steps to Coffee Shop Success

7 Steps to Success coffee shop startup guide

Based on Greg book, 7 Steps to Success: A Commonsense Guide to Succeed in Specialty Coffee, our coffee shop startup program has helped over 300 entrepreneurs in 30 states start and run independent coffee shops serving their local communities.

Our coffee shop startup consultants guide new coffee shop owners in developing a coffee shop business plan and assist with site evaluation, on-site training, marketing materials, menu ideas and much more.

“Our services are designed to help reduce costs, increase profits and eliminate potential headaches,” Greg said.

The Only Locally Owned Coffee Shop in Columbus, Nebraska

The Broken Mug pastry caseSince opening five years ago inside the IC Church at 2800 22nd Avenue, The Broken Mug has become a gathering place for local coffee lovers.

“We are the only locally owned coffee shop in our town,” Mandy said. “We are also the only coffee shop that delivers drinks and food items.”

The shop 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. Ice cream, pastries and sandwiches round out the menu.

The food menu has evolved to include a more expansive assortment of luncheon sandwiches.

“I really listened to 7 Steps Project Manager and Trainer Steve Bayless when he said start off simple, don’t add food yet,” Mandy said. “You can have a couple of bakery items, but really concentrate on the drinks first and make sure you are consistent and comfortable before adding other items to your menu.”

Responding to Community Needs

The mini mugIn just five years, The Broken Mug has evolved significantly in response to customer needs.

“Molding to what your community wants is key,” Mandy said. “Two years ago, we added delivery. A year ago, we added a drive-thru because that’s what our community needed during Covid.”

To keep up with customer demand, she added a coffee trolley called the Mini Mug across the parking lot from The Broken Mug.

From giving free regular-size drinks to new Sanctuary attendees to sponsoring sports programs, proms and other events with area schools, the Tuls place a high priority on giving back to the local community.

“We love our community, and we enjoy helping out and getting involved,” Mandy said.

The shop supports Big Brothers & Big Sisters, United Way, Girl Scouts and other groups. In November and December, it hosts a giving tree for families in need to receive Christmas gifts.

A lifelong coffee lover, Mandy Tuls wanted to have a business with a great atmosphere and lots of customer interactions. After five years, she revels in the freedom of making decisions on her own and with her team.

“I love encouraging and lifting up each of my team members,” she said. “I also love letting my staff explore fun and new drink recipes and then featuring their drinks. Each team member is unique, and I love seeing what dynamics they add to our team.”

Mandy’s Advice to Aspiring Coffee Shop Owners

Asked for advice to other entrepreneurs, Mandy said:

“Don’t Overthink it. Just do it! Crimson Cup is always there to help with all aspects of my business from start-up, hiring, adjusting my prices through the years, equipment and other questions I have.”

“They start you on a path that will deliver success as long as you really follow what they say,” she added. “I did and look at me now! I’m opening my third location in March 2023, and I won’t need a business loan to complete it.”

Visit the Broken Mug and Mini Mug

Mandy and Todd Tuls invite everyone in Columbus and Platte County, Nebraska, to visit The Broken Mug and Mini Mug. For details on hours, events and the new Columbus Library location, visit the shop’s Facebook page. You can also visit the Mini Mug Facebook page.

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