North Texas Daily

Drive-thru coffee stand aims to connect with community

Drive-thru coffee stand aims to connect with community

Drive-thru coffee stand aims to connect with community
February 20
09:20 2022

In front of Metzler’s Food and Beverage on University Drive, The Mug‘s bright yellow trailer invites lines of cars waiting to get coffee. The Mug, a coffee shop that opened in June 2020, is a unique storefront for Texans as it is inspired by drive-thru coffee stands common in the northwestern United States.

Amie Melton, Michigan native and owner of The Mug, got the idea to create The Mug after visiting her family from southern Oregon, where small drive-thru coffee stands are located along almost every mile of major roads. The popular model for locally-owned coffee shops invited a strong sense of community, something Melton wanted to recreate in Denton.

“We have nothing like that [in Denton],” Melton said. “The only drive-thrus are Starbucks [and other chains], but they’re huge corporations.”

After researching what a walk-up coffee stand could look like and talking to people who work in the coffee industry, Melton made the decision to buy the vibrant trailer which now houses The Mug.

Melton envisioned a business that embodies community and friendliness, which became her ultimate goal for The Mug. Providing a connection, friendship and a place to grab a cup of coffee is the most important part of The Mug’s mission, said Melton.

“That is the best part — connecting with the community,” Melton said.

Priding itself on all-natural ingredients, The Mug seeks to promote healthy consumption through its unique recipes with products from small businesses.

Including signatures like plant-based energy drinks or maple syrups from Melton’s hometown of Livingston, Michigan, The Mug serves a wide range of products influenced by healthy, small-scale initivates.

Abby Messerli, university alumna and The Chestnut Tree employee, said The Mug is a coffee shop that the community should support since it does not serve “expensive dirt water” like other national chains and corporations. Instead, The Mug is a small, organic business run by women, said Messerli.

“I like how The Mug is a small business run by a woman that’s trying to [focus on] eating healthy,” Messerli said.

The pandemic also made a walk-up coffee shop a possibility as The Mug was able to provide the coffee shop experience without the fear of contracting COVID-19, Melton said.

“[Even though] it was the middle of the pandemic, it was easy to start because it was a drive-thru,” Melton said. “[Since] it was a walk-up [shop], people felt safe.”

After a year of operation, The Mug opened an additional coffee bar inside The Chestnut Tree at the Denton Square.

Suzanne Johnson, Melton’s friend and owner of The Chestnut Tree, asked Melton to open a coffee bar in The Chestnut Tree. Johnson had a vision of providing a coffee bar in The Chestnut Tree, but did not want to be the one to run it, Melton said.

“[Johnson] likes the collaboration between us,” Melton said. “The coffee stand is still our bread and butter […] but being able to partner with other business […]. I love the model.”

Melton said the connections she has made with other businesses are one of the best things about The Mug.

Brenda Kirk, The Mug employee and former IT service desk manager for the university, said she loves working for The Mug and Melton’s team.

“[Melton] is a great boss who makes sure to take care of her employees,” Kirk said.

Melton plans on growing her business by creating “The Traveling Mug,” another trailer that would be able to provide coffee at weddings and festivals outside of Denton.

“There’s not a lot of places like [The Mug],” Melton said. “Other people have come to me, so that we can bring more coffee to more people.”

Featured Image: A man waits for his order at The Mug Coffee on Feb. 7, 2022. Photo by Lindy Jenkins

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