Today, I found out that Joshua Cup Coffee in Macon will be closing its doors after twelve years of serving our community. This disgusts me because we have two Starbucks locations that, by all indicators, are thriving. Macon, you're allowing Joshua Cup to go out of business while there are two Starbucks that are getting plenty of business? Really?
Now that I've gotten that off my chest I can continue this post in the direction that I want it to go: a proper salute to Joshua Cup. While I know that the J-Cup owners are working on trying to get back in the game, I would be beside myself if they failed and I didn't write this post now.
Anyone who knows me knows that local coffee shops are my thing. Since I've been living in Atlanta, I've started developing an affinity for local pubs as well, but local coffee shops will always be my first love when it comes to places where groups of people gather. I love trying out different coffee shops, tasting the various flavors and brews of coffee that they have available, and supporting them by spending time there and spending my money there. While I do have to give credit to Two Story Coffeehouse in Athens for teaching me to love coffee, Joshua Cup is the one that taught me to love the coffeehouse itself for its power to build communities and bring out conversation. This was in Joshua Cup's DNA, a feature that it shares with Two Story. Some of the most impactful discussions in my life to date happened in the context of a coffeehouse. Some of the best performances I've ever listened to were at coffeehouses.
I still remember the old Open Mic Nights that used to happen at Joshua Cup while I was in High School. I remember that you could always pile into Joshua Cup and listen to something excellent, all for the price of a cup of coffee. Over the years I had several friends that played there as well. You can still find YouTube videos of some buddies of mine, collectively Tom's Hayloft, playing Joshua Cup five years ago. (I was probably present that night, but I wasn't taking pictures. At least, I can't find any.) I also seem to remember some other friends of mine, the Ellison-Bier Band, playing J-Cup as well. (Although, I cannot remember exactly when. I just remember monkeying around with/guarding Austin's red M-Audio recorder during the performance.)
One morning I remember arriving at school painfully early to do something for NHS (or one of the other organizations I was involved in). Upon completing our task we had 45 minutes until school was supposed to start. This was before I developed a real taste for coffee, but due to sleep deprivation I determined that if I didn't get some coffee I was going to keel over. So I snuck out to J-Cup, walked in the door short on time, and said to the barista from across the coffeehouse, "How fast can you make a mocha?" In response I get, "Less than a minute," and he's to work frothing the milk before I make it all the way to the counter. Joshua Cup was my destination another morning when I decided it would be a wise idea to try and get there before school started and was stopped by a Macon police officer a cited for a failure to yield at a light!
The stories like this go on and on and on. I couldn't remember all of them if I tried. I've had conversations there, I've taken dates there, I've seen music there, I've studied for exams there, and I've had plenty of friends who have worked there over the years. That little coffeehouse that occupies College Hill Commons has been a significant fixture in our town and in my personal history.
So, Joshua Cup, this is a salute to you. Although I won't be able to be there on Friday for your last day in business, I want to thank you for all of the good memories, all of the delicious food, and all of the delicious coffee. I sincerely hope that you'll open your doors again soon or, at the very least, someone will rise up to take your place. Jittery Joe's and Starbucks just aren't the same.