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Mean Mug turns to farmers market to continue operation, keep serving freshly brewed caffeine

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — While Mean Mug Coffee Company’s formula has always been to “come in and stay a while,” the COVID-19 pandemic forced the shop to offer its services another way.

Though still temporarily closed to customers, owner Evelyn Medina said Mean Mug wants to continue to make its presence known every Saturday at the Salisbury/Rowan Farmers Market, located at 228 E. Kerr St. She said the shop has been unable to open because of “so many unknowns” and the difficulty of gauging the health of all customers and employees. Additionally, the size of the shop is too small to comply with the phase two reopening requirements, and safety among the staff and their families is a major priority.

But “reinventing” how Mean Mug operates has been “heartbreaking,” Medina said, particularly because it is a community-based coffee shop where it’s encouraged for locals to enjoy their coffee and treats and “make a friend” while they’re there.

The farmers market began its season on May 9, but this weekend was Mean Mug’s third weekend at the market, operating on a limited menu. Customers can purchase hot or cold coffee, chai tea, the highly popular hibiscus tea, muffins, mugs, T-shirts and whole or ground coffee beans.

While farmers markets were considered essential business, local farmers decided to delay the start of the market season to ensure social distancing and other safety precautions could be implemented. A grand opening of the new market location at the Riverwalk Pavilion had been planned for April 18.

Medina said the Saturday service isn’t about making money, but instead about staying in people’s minds and seeing the customers the shop misses so much. She added that interactions among locals at the farmers’ market has been wonderful.

“This has been yet another reminder that this community continues to embrace Mean Mug,” she said.

For now, Mean Mug staff have been coming into the shop on Friday nights to prepare for Saturdays at the market. Medina said she and her staff are anxious to get back to a somewhat normal mode of operation. She is encouraging the community to continue social distancing measures and to wear masks.

And looking ahead, as the weather continues to heat up, Mean Mug will add smoothies to its limited menu for future Saturdays during the farmers market season.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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