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Cups Continues to Serve Coffee, Humor During Difficult Time

By Sage McNamara and Ainsley Cullum
Hottytoddy.com interns
dsmcnama@go.olemiss.edu; adcullum@go.olemiss.edu

During this chaotic time, many small businesses have struggled to find alternatives to keep the business running as smoothly as possible. Cups, on the other hand, has understood that there can be light in this dark time, and it can simply start with a cup of coffee.

Bryan Spillman and Tim Boudreaux bought this small franchise with a vision of creating a special place for people to come together and enjoy life over a good atmosphere and many different types of coffee, but this image has slightly changed due to the recent developments that are happening in the world.

Pictured left to right: Cups owners Tim Boudreaux and Bryan Spillman. Photo provided.

“Coffee is the most common thing that brings people together. From laughter or even a significant meeting,” said Spillman.

One major obstacle that local businesses have been facing is how to continue business without being able to serve the public in traditional ways.

Many of the local coffee shops have closed due to the COVID-19 virus. Since this situation limits the number of social interactions people can have outside of their homes, select businesses have kept their doors open through curbside service to give people safe options to continue using their services.

Talia Webster, a student at the University of Mississippi, said, “They make you feel welcomed when you walk in. I like talking to the barista at the coffee bar. They make it feel more like a home-style situation than me just coming and going.”

Cups has continued to offer its services to the community because the staff sees the importance of keeping the morale of the city alive.

“Coming to our door, you are going to have a conversation and a connection with one of us, so you will have some kind of entertainment,” Spillman said.

“Simply having someone smile, talk about what’s going in their world, and engaging with you is extremely needed right now, so we are striving to make a difference,” Boudreaux said.

Cups has fully understood the boundaries of keeping social distancing at the forefront of their services currently.

Spillman and Boudreaux are currently the only employees present in the shop at this time. This direct contact with their business has led to some interesting use and changes on social media. Spillman and Boudreaux have come up with many different ways of keeping the engagement alive through the Cup’s social media accounts including the “Beans for Butts” promotion.

Many people in today’s society turn to social media for their news, so the small business understood this was crucial during this time.

“I have been very entertained with their Instagram interaction during this time of social distancing,” said Ally-Kay Wilkinson, a resident of Oxford.

Beans for Butts is a humorous way to motivate people to get out of their house, but also help the business financially. Since toilet paper is a prized possession right now, Cups is offering a free roll of toilet paper for every purchase of coffee beans made.

“This idea has been really fun because I would say we have probably sold more beans in the past week than we have in a year. It’s a really cool thing to bring people laughter doing stupid stuff on social media,” Spillman said.

Bringing this light into the world can change someone’s daily mood on how they view the rest of the day. Mental health has been a viewpoint that has inspired Cups to make a big impact on social media, and that is why they have continued to give daily updates.

Tyler Tyree, a frequent visitor of Cups, said that one of his favorite things to do in Oxford is to go get a coffee at Cups.

“The owners of Cups have done a very good job of keeping the business going in light of the COVID-19 crisis,” Tyree said. “They are doing a great job of bringing a little bit of light in this rough time for the community.”

During this time, Cups has reminded the community it is very important to continue to support local businesses.

“As best you can, keep spending money at our local businesses. Now more than ever, we are dependent on locals in Oxford to support us. Where you can, please give back to these small business owners here and the places that you love and you want to continue being staples of your life in Oxford so they can continue operating and providing to our great community,” Spillman said.

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