Have you been to The Mug Coffee in northeast Fresno? If you haven’t been recently, you should definitely make plans to. Owners Michael and Crystal’s story of how they came to be the owners of The Mug, survive the pandemic (with the help of their customers and a fellow coffee shop owner), and the great things they have planned for the months ahead as The Mug expands into the space next door. Read on to hear the story from Michael Edgar, co-owner.
FresYes: Tell me a little about yourselves, and how you ended up where you are?
Michael Edgar: Crystal and I moved to Fresno in 2008 from Coalinga, CA where I grew up and where Crystal also spent most of her childhood.
I originally come from the oil and gas industry. I began drilling for oil as a teenager and spent the first 15 years of my career traveling the US drilling. I am considered an LWD Engineer by trade. In 2010, I became disabled and spent a year in a wheelchair. After having spinal surgery and getting back on my feet I chose not to go back to drilling, so I went into business development.
As an outside sales rep I still traveled quite a bit and eventually started a business plan in 2018 to open up a cafe. I became a customer of Yellow Mug Coffee and was able to meet the owners Mike and Belinda and we became friends. After 6 months of getting to know them, I shared my business plan with Mike, and at that time Mike offered to sell me his business.
FresYes: Wow! What an amazing turn of events! Are you and Crystal coffee lovers in general?
ME: Coffee is a passion of mine, as well as people so I knew if I was able to execute a business plan it would have to be surrounding coffee and community.
FresYes: How do you see The Mug and how do you hope the community sees it?
ME: We see The Mug as a place for everyone in the community to go and feel loved and safe! We see The Mug as a diverse community with people from all backgrounds, regardless of what they look like, believe in, or who they love. We just care about treating everyone with love and care! We hope the community sees The Mug the same way we do – from the love and support we have received; I believe the community does in fact feel the same way!
FresYes: What coffee do you brew, and what are some of your most popular, signature drinks?
ME: Our Mug blend coffee and espresso is a delicious blend from Brazil and Ethiopia, roasted locally here by our friends at Kuppa Joy. Kuppa Joy was part of the community that helped The Mug stay in business during the worst part of the pandemic by donating our espresso and coffee for months. The love that Zack Follet (of Kuppa Joy) and his team showed Crystal and I during that time is indescribable and dearly appreciated. After getting back to some normalcy, we decided to keep Kuppa Joy as our roaster so they created a special blend just for us.
Our most popular signature drink is our Delicious Punch In The Face, which is a white chocolate mocha with Irish cream and half and half. Our second most popular, and my personal favorite drink is our amazing Fog Breaker, which is a vanilla and honey latte with cinnamon.
FresYes: Am I correct in understanding that the baked goods are all Crystal’s amazing work? If so, has she always been a baker? How did she learn?
ME: Yes! My wife is awesome! She bakes all of our pastries! Her pastries get more and more popular every day. She started baking 12 years ago and is completely self-taught. She started baking when our twin boys were born, and got so good at it she started selling her cakes for birthdays and weddings. She usually does all the kids in our family’s birthday cakes as well as most of the adults. Along with her gift of baking, she is also talented at crocheting and sewing. She makes baby clothing and has another business she started 8 years ago called Our Faithful Creations.
FresYes: How has the pandemic affected The Mug, and what are some things you look forward to in the months ahead as things continue to get closer to normal?
ME: As many of others have suffered, we have too. The beginning was the most difficult considering we were new to business. We were only 7 months into owning the business when the pandemic hit. We’re very grateful that within that short time, we had built a solid base of the community who came out early on to donate in numbers. Donations by so many is what kept us going.
What made things even harder for us, was that in May of 2020, just a few months into the shutdown, Crystal became extremely ill and spent much of the rest of the year in and out of the hospital. Being worried about her, taking care of her and the kids, and working 7 days a week to keep our business open — you can say that 2020 was difficult.
Crystal still struggles, but she is strong and loves our business too much to stay away. She works everyday baking, cares for our 3 boys in ways I still can’t figure out, (she is super mom) and puts everyone’s needs before her own. She really is the greatest wife and mother!
FresYes: Considering all you have been through, we’re so glad things seem to be on the upswing now. What’s next for The Mug family?
ME: We are currently in the process of expansion! We have acquired the building next door, so we will be expanding our dining area, building a banquet room, and having a stage built for live entertainment. We plan to host music, poetry, comedy and more.
FresYes: How can the community best support your local, small business?
ME: All we ask is that the community continue to come out and support us, and share our business with their family, friends, and coworkers. Word of mouth is the best way to spread the news and help us continue to thrive!
FresYes: Do you have any advice to others considering becoming entrepreneurs in the Fresno area?
ME: As newer business owners, we are still learning day by day. The best advise we can give is have a business plan. Write it all out and do your research within your industry. See what other businesses similar to what you want to do are doing, and don’t be afraid to reach out to other business owners. Most owners love to help others striving to succeed.
You can visit The Mug seven days a week, from 6am to 4pm on weekdays and 7am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. They are located at 1137 E. Champlain Dr. in northeast Fresno.