One Cup: Coffee and So Much More
By Marjorie Turner Hollman
John Griffin and his wife had an epiphany after purchasing a carton of Keurig coffee k-cups. He tried one cup of the new box and found he didn’t like the taste. Ultimately, he had twenty-three more cups of coffee he knew he wouldn’t enjoy. His wife suggested, “We should open a store where you can just purchase one cup, to see which coffee you like without being stuck with the whole box.” This idea was ten years ago, and One Cup Coffee (224 Dedham Street, Norfolk—Rt. 1A) has continued to offer Keurig k-cups (800+ types, as well as hot chocolate, cappuccinos and teas, all in Keurig dispenser-style cups) to customers one cup at a time, but so much more as well.
A satisfied customer recently wrote on the store’s Facebook page, “Great store and great variety of coffee. We happily travel 45 minutes to shop in your store and always feel welcome.”
Over these ten years, Griffin has asked customers what else they would like to see in his store and has gathered both seasonal items and tasty treats to provide a country store feel to his shop. One of the newer items that has garnered a great response is his imported Spanish licorice ropes, presently in fifteen different flavors, including traditional black licorice root, strawberry, watermelon, pina colada, mango chili spicy, sour rainbow delight, sour raspberry, sour strawberry and more. The licorice, made by a company that has been manufacturing the tasty treats for the past fifty years, is made the old-fashioned way, and brings back memories of penny candy stores of the past. Another happy Facebook page commenter noted, “Not only are these licorice ropes amazing (and slightly addictive), the owner is a wonderful man who is super friendly and fun to be around. And they have every flavor of coffee imaginable. It’s a must see place!”
Specialty canned goods from New Hampshire, pickles, salsa, garlic, and beets, add to the ambience of a country store. Organic CBD oil from hemp grown on organic farms in Vermont is yet another specialty product available to One Cup customers. Griffin explained that the oil reduces inflammation and helps with sleep, among other benefits.
For disc golf enthusiasts (think, little Frisbees), One Cup offers a large selection of affordable discs. Just like golf balls, those discs sometimes go astray in the woodland spaces that these courses are set up in. Griffin laughed. “Every time someone comes in they say, ‘You have that too?’”
An important part of communicating with his customers has been maintaining an active Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/OneCupNorfolk, where customers hear about new offerings, as well as chances to obtain free stuff when they stop in. Griffin makes sure to respond to those who comment, and posts regular photos of what is happening both at the store, and on his trips to obtain hard-to-find supplies for the community.
Griffin has dealt in retail for years now, so he embraced the challenges of this past year’s pandemic and the restrictions that came with it. He has been resourceful in supplying his customers with both what they needed and what they tell him they would love to see in the store. When cleaning products and masks were in short supply, Griffin made weekly trips to Vermont, where the pandemic was less intense, and brought back boxes of cleaning supplies, including hand sanitizer wipes, which he gave away for free.
Another customer on Facebook shared, “It is not just the fantastic selection of coffee and other products you sell that keeps me coming back. It is the fact that you truly go above and beyond for your customers that keeps me wanting to support you!! Thank you for all you do!”
Told he had to close his store at the beginning of the pandemic, Griffin had already taken steps beyond the requirements of the Board of Health to maintain a safe environment at his store. Keeping the rest of his staff home for a time to reduce the risk, bringing in fans and keeping bathroom doors open were all steps that he took to ensure a safe environment.
“Keeping our staff home at the beginning of the pandemic was the right thing to do, without being told. We pointed out that if liquor stores could remain open, we would too. We made sure our customers were never out of stock of the coffee they drink every day. We learned that our customers wanted to see us, rather than order online. During COVID, we have been a safe place for people to visit when they wanted to get out. Presently we’ve all gotten vaccinated. We love people.”
Griffin expressed a sense of gratitude to his faithful customers, stating, “We’re a word-of-mouth kind of store. Our customers give to us thirty times what we give.”
For more information about One Cup, visit their Facebook page, or their website, https://onecupnorfolk.com/.