We’re excited to welcome Hug In A Mug Coffee Company in Valdosta, Georgia to the group of independent coffee shops, cafés and bakeries Crimson Cup supports in 37 states. The shop at 4165 Bemiss Road, Suite O, is one of at least 18 new independent coffee shops scheduled to open in 2018 through our 7 Steps to Success coffee shop franchise alternative program.
Owner Mike Scott, Managers Linda Harrington and Hope Smithwick and their team learned how to open a coffee shop through our 7 Steps to Success program.
A serial entrepreneur with ownership in 30 Precision Tune Auto Care locations, Mike was looking for a new business venture that would be less technical than his other businesses and that could be duplicated once learned. Specialty coffee seemed a perfect fit. “We love coffee, and we love the idea of a business that the community can fall in love with,” he said. “We also wanted to give back to our community by donating to local nonprofits.”
“I was looking for a franchise but decided against it once I saw Crimson Cup advertised on the Internet,” Mike said. “The service has been great! We love the coffee blends and recipes.”
Based on the book Seven Steps to Success in the Specialty Coffee Industry by Crimson Cup Founder and President Greg Ubert, the 7 Steps program has helped hundreds of independent coffee shops open and stay and business. Company statistics show that over 80 percent of businesses that complete the program remain inoperation for at least five years.
Our program walks business owners through seven steps to bring their business from concept to reality, with 7 Steps Trainers providing support at each step. “The most helpful step for me was location,” Mike said. “While I already understood the importance of location, learning what makes a good place for a coffee shop was very valuable.”
Located on a busy street with lots of other retail and service businesses, Hug In A Mug Coffee Company 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. Bagels, breakfast sandwiches, pastries and desserts round out the menu.
The Hug In A Mug Brew Bar entices coffee lovers to slow down and enjoy a hand-poured coffee using Hario v60 or Chemex brewing systems. “This is truly the experience for the coffee connoisseur who may have a more ‘discerning’ palate,” Mike said.
The coffee, roasted by Crimson Cup, has been a big hit with Valdosta coffee drinkers. “The word we often hear is smooth as opposed to bitter. Hug In A Mug Mocha is obviously the most popular.” This drink melds white chocolate with caramel and espresso for a uniquely smooth taste.
Mike’s favorite drink is Crimson Cup’s signature Armando’s blend brewed coffee, served black. “My daughter Jana loves the hot Hug In A Mug Mocha with only a half of pump of white chocolate, extra caramel and no whipped cream.”
Ubert emphasized that Crimson Cup supports independent coffee businesses like Hug In A Mug Coffee Company from concept through success.
“We believe that our company succeeds only when our customers do,” he said. “As a result, Crimson Cup supports coffee shop owners at every step – from scouting a great location and writing a coffee shop business plan to planning a menu, choosing equipment, hiring staff and providing comprehensive training.”
“To support customers’ ongoing success, we supply award-winning wholesale coffee, coffee shop supplies, marketing support and ongoing training,” he added. “Our coffee-buying team travels more than 45,000 miles annually to bring back the finest coffee beans available to our customers, and our Innovation Lab team works every day to create new and better coffee drinks and training programs.”
When asked for advice for aspiring coffee shop owners, Mike said, “Go with Crimson Cup.” He also noted the importance of having enough startup capital and funds. “It could take some time to get your name out.
We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Mike and the Hug in a Mug team. To keep up with their progress, follow the Hug in a Mug Coffee Company Facebook page.