Small Business Spotlight: Smoke N' Beans Coffee Shop
Being a small business owner is a tough job! That’s why we feature a different small business in our Small Business Spotlight every month. Today we visit Smoke N' Beans, a coffee shop in McArthur that is so much more than a coffee shop!
John McGee’s mind is in perpetual motion with thoughts on how to improve his business. That’s evident in the way Spring Street Sports has grown from a side gig in his home to an anchor on McArthur’s Main Street. Now that business is home to Smoke N’ Beans, the town’s only coffee shop, and a place that McGee says is more than a coffee shop. That’s because they offer much more than most customers expect both on the menu and as a welcoming gathering place.
With improvement in mind, he recently expanded services to exceed customer expectations again by adding a food menu and hard dip ice cream.
Things like bagels, sausage gravy and biscuits, avocado toast, mini pancakes, and egg and meat croissants are now offered for breakfast. Lunch includes soup, wraps and sandwiches like a traditional Dagwood. A mac and cheese boat smothered in chili is sure to be a favorite.
“I want to keep our food unique but it won’t be fancy. Just good food that you can’t get everywhere else. That is a goal of mine, to give people things they need and want that they can’t get anywhere else close by.”
Their extensive menu of hot and cold drinks is ever growing and includes plenty of non-coffee drinks for those who wish for something a little different. That’s because their large selection of traditional coffee drinks is complemented by smoothies, all natural Lotus Energy drinks and Boba teas. McGee said that their coffee drinks can also be made without the coffee.
Plus, there are numerous specialty drinks like the Bigfoot Mocha, Thin Mint, Peanut Butter Toffee and Lavender Haze. The menu is rounded out by fresh squeezed lemonade, organic iced tea, Italian sodas and glass bottled Ski!
A long list of syrup options includes some that are sugar free and frozen drinks can have protein powder added to make them a little healthier.
Their most popular drink? The Spring Street Mocha comes in as their bestseller. This is a coffee drink with white chocolate and caramel drizzle. The number two seller is the Hot Chocolate Freeze, a frozen hot chocolate that brings in customers year-round.
McGee said he discovered his roaster, Crimson Cup, while doing research at another coffee shop. “It was the best cup of coffee I had ever had in my life! I would put our drinks against anyone else’s,” he said. In addition to superior flavor, he has been impressed with the products and training the company offers.
Piranha Bite Energy Drinks are one example of how McGee and his crew are always looking for the next great thing to offer his customers. “I pay attention to what’s happening around us. Why should our people have to drive somewhere else when we can give them what they want right here? That has always been my thinking. We should be able to get things here close to home,” he explained.
“Our roaster calls us their most innovative shop because we are always looking for new things and are willing to try new things if we think that’s what our customers want,” he said.
Seasonal fresh made baked goods like cookies, donuts and cupcakes rotate daily and keep customers coming back for more. Seeing the positive response to these baked goods, McGee understand that there’s room for more food on their menu.
Why does McGee say that it’s more than a coffee shop?
Because it’s not just drinks and because it has given people a place to gather and to interact with others they would never meet if this place didn’t exist. He said they have small groups occasionally gather and that professionals often meet or individuals just come in to sit in the corner and work. “We have a lot of regulars and we notice when they don’t come in. Someone will say ‘where’s so and so? They’re normally here by now.’ But we have a lot of people come in that I don’t know or wouldn’t know if it weren’t for this place,” he said. “We want people to know they can come here and relax, connect with someone, make a friend, have a meeting. They’re welcome here and we want them to know that.”
Smoke N’ Beans isn’t just a coffee shop to McGee. It has been a very personal level labor of love. You see, McGee has a track record for spotting needs in the community and setting about to fill them even when everyone else doesn’t see his vision. For example, while their roaster is impressed with his success in McArthur, they told McGee that the community’s demographic wouldn’t be enough to support a coffee shop. “I insisted the people here would support it because the people here are great and they have supported us!”
“I’m grateful every day,” he said.
While customers wait for their Smoke N’ Beans order, they can peruse Spring Street Sports merchandise and pick up their custom order for wearables, trophies, banners and signs. There’s a selection of spirit gear like shirts, hats, blankets and mugs plus they sell barbequing and smoking supplies and an extensive line of BruMates mugs. They even carry local products like Zaleski Candle Works candles, local beef from KTR and Zaleski Wood Crafts Items.
Follow Smoke N’ Beans and Spring Street Sports on Facebook or visit them at 118 West Main Street in McArthur.