Editor's note: Muncie Origins is a Ball State Daily News series profiling various businesses that originated in Muncie.
At The Cup, the smell of roasting coffee beans wafts through between the roastery, lounging area and into the tattoo shop upstairs.
As customers order their drinks at the counter, senior hospitality and tourism major Grace Dehaven is one employee who offers a welcoming smile that adds to the warm atmosphere. welcomes them into the warm aroma.
“[The Cup has] developed quite a consistent group of people that I see every day,” Dehaven said. “Some people, they get the same exact thing every single day. They walk in, and I'm like, ‘Same thing?’ and they're like, ‘Yup.’ So, it's cool. It's nice to develop friendships with people that I would have never even met or seen or talked to otherwise.”
The Cup’s owner, Martin George, said he opened the coffee shop when he saw a need for one in The Village.
Before what current students know as The Cup took shape, there was a different coffee house occupying 1606 W. University Ave. It sat closed for three months, leaving Starbucks as the only coffee option for Muncie residents.
“There's been a coffee house in the building, either upstairs or downstairs, since the ’70s,” George said. “I think people encounter kind of a program to almost come to this spot to get coffee because people have been doing it for so long.”
Keeping the same name for sandwiches and drinks from the previous owner, George said The Cup has provided a sense of continuity for some customers.
“There are people who walk in here who went to school [at Ball State] in the mid ’90s,” George said. “They'll look at it [and] go, ‘This place hasn't changed at all.”
Bringing an “old fashioned” feel to its customers, George said coffee houses like The Cup are a staple to college campuses like Ball State, but they may be a “dying art.”
“I don’t think a lot of people understand it anymore,” George said. “[The Cup used to be] the place where people hang out, connect with each other [and] actually talked.”
Despite people using coffee shops to charge their laptops instead of a place to socialize, Dehaven said shes seen a lot of traffic during her two years as an employee at The Cup.
“This past weekend was pretty crazy,” Dehaven said. “It was busiest shift I’ve ever worked this weekend. I had a line out the door for the entire eight hours that I was there. It was a lot, but it’s fun because it’s so fast paced, and you don’t have a lot of downtime to just be bored, so it’s cool.”
George said at coffee shops like Starbucks, customers grab their drinks and leave, but with large booths, tables and a long bench along its wall, The Cup’s atmosphere invites customers to stay for a while.
Since April 2012, The Cup has also features patio furniture outside for students to sit and chat over coffee, tea and kombucha.
“If you want a place that's a college hang-out, a place to study, a place to meet people and a place to interact with other people from the community and campus,” George said, “[The Cup] is a good place to do it.”