In The Community: The Happy Mug Cafe aims to bring smiles to faces

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Shyanne Florez, left, watches as Harold Florez of Fonda feeds his 1-year-old son Zane a piece of cookie at the Happy Mug Cafe at 50 N. Main Street in Gloversville on Thursday.

GLOVERSVILLE There’s a lot that can catch your eye when you walk into The Happy Mug Cafe inside Agora Marketplace in downtown Gloversville. 

From the vibrant artwork and colors that fill the space to the piles of puzzle pieces piled on tables just waiting for someone to find the right fit, the cafe offers a space for creativity to thrive. 

It’s exactly the atmosphere owners Tanyalynnette Grimes and Brad Teetz wanted when they opened the cafe inside the marketplace in May. The marketplace has been open for 18 months. 

The two owners are part of Micropolis Development Group, which owns several businesses in the area.

“We’re one of a small number of female-led community developers in Fulton and Montgomery counties,” Grimes said. “As a community developer, we define that to be creating businesses, creating jobs and creating spaces and experiences for our community. It’s not about building real estate, it’s about building the jobs and the opportunities for people to elevate their standard of living.”

She and Brad base their businesses around experiences they’ve had and areas they have backgrounds in. The same can be said for The Happy Mug Cafe.

Grimes has been a coffee lover well before adulthood, even having coffee at the original Starbucks. 

“It’s a very inspirational space,” Grimes said. “You’re surrounded by people’s imagination and creativity while having the latitude to kind of create your own enjoyable atmosphere.”

What sets the cafe apart from many other coffee shops is that it shares the space with many local artists who sell their work in the marketplace.

“It’s an opportunity for people who are creative to sell the things they’re creating without having a business,” she said.

The space also offers classrooms that will be open to the community at-large. Other events, including a paper crane making class, have also taken place at the shop. Grimes said they ended up with over 2,500 paper cranes after that event, which were hung from the ceiling. 

“It’s 4,300 square feet of fun,” Grimes said. 

As for the coffee, that’s local too. The beans come from Capital Roasters, which is partnered with Antonucci Foods, where the beans are roasted and then distributed.

“Because of that love of coffee and the experience I wanted to bring that, but bring that in a different capacity. Stewart’s is great for people who love Stewart’s coffee, Dunkin’ is great for people who are running on the go and want to go through a drive-thru, ours is really that traditional coffee shop experience.” 

People can grab and go or order online for curbside pickup. Others can grab coffee and work at one of the many tables available. 

Grimes said her favorite way to take coffee is a Blonde Roast, light and sweet. Sometimes in the afternoon, she likes to get an iced matcha. Teetz said when he does drink coffee, his favorite is a shot of espresso in hot chocolate. 

The cafe has partnered with Share the Sugar to provide locally-made sweet treats, such as cream cheese-filled pumpkin muffins or Boston Cream cupcakes. Grimes said the sweets are exquisite.

“When I want something sweet to eat, I want fat, sugar and salt layered,” Grimes said. “I want a big fat juicy brownie and I want a great cup of coffee to sit and have that space to enjoy with my friends, let that dopamine flow, get laughing. We’ve missed that with the pandemic and to be able to offer that I think is a great service to our community.”

Retail manager Tierney VanDeusen said the cafe sets itself apart from other coffee places because of its attention to detail. 

“It has that family feel to it,” she said. “The care that’s put into each and every one of the drinks here is unlike any other place you’re going to go to that’s pumping out a million drinks the same way.”

Her favorite part of the cafe is the baked goods, noting she wanted to try the sundae cupcakes that were recently available. 

She also likes working there knowing that everything is local and the money spent goes back into the community.

Lacy Brower of Johnstown stops at The Happy Mug once or twice a week to grab some sweet treats. She stopped Thursday for the cream cheese stuffed pumpkin muffin. 

“I recommend this place to everyone,” she said. 

Debra VanDeusen also visits the cafe often for two reasons; one, because she likes the atmosphere, and two, because she sells her jewelry creations there. 

“There’s always new stuff coming,” she said, noting she couldn’t pick a favorite part about the cafe. 

Grimes said that in a couple years, she and Teetz plan to open a much larger The Happy Mug Cafe at 13 N. Main St.

In the community is a weekly feature highlighting an individual, organization or business in Fulton County. To submit nominees for consideration to be featured, please email [email protected]com. 

More: All NewsEverything Gloversville

By Shenandoah Briere

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