A new cup of joe is making its mark in downtown Pontiac.
After months of planning and preparation, business owners Scott and Jennifer Cranford and co-owner Marty Fannin opened The Cup and The Scone coffee house, located at 213 W. Madison St., on Feb. 9.
Until he became an owner, Scott Cranford didn’t intend to operate a small business. Initially, he just wanted to work part-time at Starbucks, but after he and his wife came back from a trip to Europe, Jennifer suggested a coffee house.
“Although I’ve been a small business owner before, this is our first foodservice-based business,” she said. “When I lived in Minnesota, I ran a medical billing company for just under 20 years as well as a driving school. I also helped with the business planning of The Blend, a coffee shop in Washington, (Ill.), with my neighbor at the time.”
“So, I had an idea of the business structure of owning a coffee house, but my husband and I are really new to operating one.
Fortunately, we partnered with Marty Fannin, who has been in the industry for more than 30 years. So, all of the foodservice-based information is coming from him. “Together, I think the three of us make quite the team.” Even with an idea and the proper people in place, the business still needed a location.
After a lot of prayers, the idea to buy the location on Madison Street came to Scott during a walk with his wife.
“We were walking down Madison Street and it just came to me,” Scott said. “I wanted to call it ‘The Cup and The Scone’ because I really like old English coffee houses. Although we’re not located directly on the square, we like this location because everybody
seems to drive down Mill Street in front of Bernardi’s II and DeLong’s and most people make that left turn on to Madison
The coffee houses’ rustic interior is made up of ideas from the Cranfords’ daughter, Olivia, and Jennifer Cranford. The owners say they can comfortably seat about 80 people.
“We wanted something with an old English feel, something like you might find in Europe,” Jennifer Cranford said. “We wanted something that is cozy, comfortable and a little timeless. Our daughter, Olivia, is a little more cutting-edge, so she pushed us to go a little bit modern.”
Although the decorating is mostly complete, Scott said there are still a few finishing touches to be added. “We want to give each booth a stretched canvas, which depicts the history of old English coffee houses,” Scott said. “That is my contribution.”
The Cranfords bought the location last September and spent the past five months in construction.
Along the way, both had their fears and doubts. During the rough times, the couple says they looked to one another and God for support.
“There were moments leading up to this, where I was pretty overwhelmed, to say the least,” Jennifer said. “In those moments, I was glad to have my husband with me, he’d always keep me calm.”
“I’ve had my moments, too,” Scott added. “I remember one time when my wife and my daughter walked in here and I was sitting on some of the building materials. The walls had just been tuck-pointed and acid washed and there was dust everywhere.
“We were talking about when we were going to open and all of a sudden, I just remember saying, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me. When are we going to open? I don’t even know when we’re going to get the floor cleaned.’”
In the darkest moments, the Cranfords say Fannin always knew how to find the answer.
“Marty would stop us and say, ‘let’s pray about it for 10 minutes.’ Every time we prayed about it, someone came through for us — it has been very humbling,” Scott said.
The coffee house’s signature roast is a five-bean blend called Black Velvet, which features rich caramel notes.
“It is good hot, but it gets better cold and it’s great at room temperature,” Scott said. “A lot of people will tell us, ‘I need cream and sugar,’ but then they take a couple drinks of Black Velvet and they’re OK drinking it black, I have never seen anything like it. I tell people all the time, ‘adding cream and sugar to this coffee is kind of like adding ketchup to a steak at a restaurant.’”
When it comes to coffee, the owners say there isn’t much they can’t make. Their specialty is a Kyoto cold brew. Kyoto is a traditional Japanese cold brew that is never heated.
“It takes 10 to 12 hours to make, but I can get unbelievable flavors out of it — like nothing you’ve ever had before,” Scott said. “You’ve heard of craft brews before? This is craft coffee. I think we’re the only ones who offer a Kyoto south of Chicago.”
The coffee house also features a number of baked items to complement their coffee.
“I don’t want to compete with Pfaff’s Bakery because I love it so much,” Scott said. “However, I like scones and I wanted to bring that European feel to this place by offering some scones and muffins to compliment our coffee.
“Our baker, Anna, has knocked it out of the ballpark since we opened. People are coming to get so many scones that we have used up what we thought would be enough scone mix to last us three weeks.”
They also offer a gluten-free option for those with food restrictions. “We want people who are on a gluten-free diet to be able to enjoy our food,” Scott Cranford said. “We want people who are eating a gluten-free muffin or scone to feel like they are eating the real deal.”
The Cup and The Scone is open Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“We don’t want this to be a place you only come once per week,” Scott said. “We want people to come and hang out here with their kids. This isn’t another restaurant where we want you to eat and leave, we are hoping you will stop on in and stay a while.”
For more information, search for “The Cup and The Scone” on Facebook, or visit thecupandthescone.com.