Story & Photos by DEBBIE HERRERA / Photo Editor

During this pandemic, many stores and shops are forced to close down temporarily and sadly permanently. Not many shops are open for dine-in or sit in at this time. Even if they are, masks and maintaining social distance is required at all times.

COVID-19 has affected all our lives and shopping experience now and for the future. There are a few stores that remain open and follow health regulations, this includes Wilson’s very own Cups of Joy.

Cups of Joy opened in July and held its grand opening on August 11 this year and has created a safe and healthy environment for everyone to enjoy coffee, tea, and baked goods.

“Thankfully we’re able to social distance our tables and stuff, so people can come in and sit down while abiding by the rules of social distancing,” said owner Mary Narron.

Narron came up with the idea of having a coffee shop about five years ago but was very hesitant in following this idea.

“In Cups of Joy, the Joy stands for ‘Jesus, Others, Yourself’, so this is kinda like a calling and when I say calling it’s like God laid this in my heart to just do this probably about five years ago and I just really didn’t think, you know ‘that’s not me’ but I finally took a leap of faith and started following through with it because I wanted this to be kinda like an outreach. Somewhere for people to hang out and just feel comfortable like they are at home,” said Narron.

Narron didn’t know where to begin with a coffee business until another coffee shop pointed her to Crimson Cup Coffee. They helped her with training on operating the coffee machines and even helping with the menu selections.

“Crimson Cup helped me with the design of the layout, the equipment, the inventory, they even came to train us on how to use all theses machinery and stuff. I get my inventory from them each week. They are there for marketing support, so it’s kinda like they are my lifeline,” said Narron.

When first walking into the coffee shop, customers are greeted by the smell of fresh coffee beans and by the kind staff. The tables and chairs are socially distanced from each other so wearing a mask isn’t required when entering the store. The bright red walls and the hanging art adds to the enjoyment of lounging and drinking coffee.

“We were looking for a bright spot to in all the gloominess of the pandemic and so it seems that Cups of Joy has been that bright spot,” said Narron.

Cups of Joy receive a diverse group of customers including students, teachers, law enforcement, children and the elderly.

“We have a very diverse group, we have one little boy who is probably not even two years old that comes in almost every day. Then we have one older gentleman he comes in, he’s like 84,” Narron said.

Looking closer, customers will notice a decorative board with coffee sleeves with names written on them, pinned to the board. This board is called ‘Pay it Forward’. It is a system where if you want to buy coffee for anyone, you can, in advance and write their names then pin it to the board. Narron doesn’t consider other coffee spots like Starbucks and Dunkin as competitors, on the contrary, she considers her shop to be an alternative choice for consumers.

“I don’t consider them competitors, I consider us an alternative because they are chains, they are big corporations, we are just an independent small business. So I am not out there to compete with them, I am just an alternative,” said Narron.

Narron has big plans coming up this fall and winter seasons with specialty drinks such as pumpkin spice latte and a smores mocha at the beginning of September.