Last winter, a gathering of family and friends met at Cuppers Coffee House to model as the townspeople and angels for my street scene.The snapping of photos and getting the kids in just the right spot was followed by a chorus of conversation over coffee, hot chocolate and oh-so-yummy chai tea. Like the brushstrokes of a Thomas Kinkaid painting, Cuppers will bathe you in its charm.
I’m talking with the wonderful Andrea Mauk about Cuppers and Prescott (and a link to what I’m sure is the most entertaining video filmed in their bathroom!).
Andrea, one of the things I love about Cuppers is the eye-catching red & white paint theme. That’s very refreshing after looking at the various shades of brown that are popular in Arizona buildings. Add your personable staff with the entertainment you bring in and you’ve got some extraordinary ambiance. How did you create such a place that makes one want to kick up their heels and hang out for a time?
Cuppers is definitely a home that our customers come to enjoy themselves, fellowship with others, or relax and get into a book or project. We are honored that the Cuppers “house” really is a place that feels like a home. The great smells from fresh brewed coffee, made from scratch pastries, home-made quiche and so much more is what makes it seem like coming “home”. The actual house was built in 1873 and it does have its own original character in many authentic ways. My husband and I fell in love with Cuppers Coffee House when we first visited in 2010. Cuppers was for sale and we were looking for a successful, existing business in our favorite Arizona town. We purchased Cuppers in January 2011 and didn’t change much of anything. We added waffles and more made-from-scratch recipes and soups to the menu and everything else in place. With our marketing and management backgrounds we focused on customer service with a passion for hospitality and the same quality drinks and food that already existed. Word spread that there were new owners, but the menu and unique ambiance remained intact. The most significant positive change for our customers was when we decided to no longer allow smoking on the property. We really wanted to make sure everyone that wanted to enjoy the fresh air in our outdoor patio, could come and do just that.
Your building has an interesting history. Tell our readers a bit about that.
Our house is one of the oldest homes in Prescott. It was built in 1872 and was originally owned by Noah Shekels and originally located in Crown King, Arizona. Noah was the Bradshaw City storekeeper and had partial ownership in the Crown King Mine. The house was posted to the National Register of Historic Places on December 14, 1978. We continue to learn more about the home so we can appreciate its many years.
Your business is still fairly new and yet you’ve managed to achieve quite a bit of recognition. How did you do this?
When you genuinely care about your customers, the products that you create, the staff and the town you do business in, it shows. Sure, we expanded the patio seating, upgraded the worn out sofas for additional seating in the Red Room, replaced (what was probably the original!) bathroom sink, but it comes down to each customer’s experience and a positive word of mouth.
We did experience growth our first year of ownership and we attribute some of that to our marketing efforts as well. We joined the Chamber of Commerce and held a grand opening to further get the word out about Cuppers. The newspaper followed up with a story about us as well which turned out to be great local exposure about positive changes at Cuppers. During the summer, we also will send out our baristas to the square to hand out Cuppers coupons so that we can let those who may not know about us, that we are just a half block off the square. Of course a great way to keep connected with our customers is our facebook page; http://www.facebook.com/cupperscoffeehouse
The best way that we reach tourists is when they use their smart phones to seek out the best coffee house in the area. Many of those that find us let us know that they saw our great reviews on Yelp. We appreciate those that take the time to let others know about their positive experiences.
Are there any misconceptions about coffee houses that you’d like to clear up?
Yes! We serve much more than coffee! We offer something for everyone, even if you don’t drink coffee. We offer a large selection of tea, 100% fruit smoothies, Italian sodas, homemade lemonade, and a full breakfast and lunch menu. Our most popular food items are our signature quiche, skinny pancakes, homemade pastries, as well as many salads and sandwiches to choose from. Currently, almost half of our sales come from our awesome food menu. We really should be called Cuppers Coffee Bistro!
Something else that sets us apart from the “chain” coffee house is that our coffee is locally roasted in small batches and our baristas are trained on how to make the perfect espresso without the use of the typical automated machines. We take pride in the science that makes the perfect latte or mocha. We offer more flavors and have the largest mocha menu than anyone! Come in and try our Ay Chihuahua, a special mocha that has its espresso extracted with red hot chili peppers.
Precottonians are the most friendly people! We were welcomed with great hospitality to the Prescott community. We enjoy getting to know our customers and learn if they are originally from Prescott or from another state. We love the small town charm and the way Prescott celebrates Christmas! Prescott is a great place to raise a family and invest in community.
The Guardians was written to remind children that no matter what happens, they are never alone. It took me a year to complete the illustrations for this book – I painted when my children napped so that this project would not take away any family time. It’s $.99 on amazon. For those interested, it’s on amazon here. Look for the print version early next year.
Do you know what else is fascinating about Cuppers? Famous people like to sing in their bathroom! Check it out.
For the start of this series ( a week with my Prescott Peeps) go here.
Don’t forget to check out Cuppers on facebook.