Mean Mug: New Location and Partnership with S.O.A.R.
By Susan Shinn Turner
Mean Mug has moved!
On March 8, Evelyn Medina opened her new digs at 110 N. Main St. on the Square. Things have calmed down a bit from a huge opening week that drew guests from the N.C. Main Street Conference, but Evelyn says that evenings are still busy and daytime hours are steady. Mean Mug is open 6:30 am-9 pm Monday-Thursday; 7 am-11 pm Friday; 8 am-9 pm Saturday; and 10 am-8 pm Sunday.
Not only is Evelyn in a new location, she has a new business model, too. Students in the S.O.A.R. program at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College are serving as interns at Mean Mug. After graduation, Evelyn will determine which of the graduates can move on to full-time employment there.
S.O.A.R. stands for Skills, Opportunity, Awareness, Readiness, and it’s a community college program specifically designed for adults with intellectual disabilities. When Evelyn was thinking about moving her business downtown from South Fulton Street, architect Pete Bogle, who owns the building where Mean Mug is now, asked if she’d be interested in employing members of the S.O.A.R. program.
Evelyn had to chuckle when Pete wanted to tell her all about S.O.A.R.
“I’m quite familiar with the S.O.A.R. program,” she told Pete. That’s because Evelyn’s brother, Harold, also a member of St. John’s, is a part of that program, too.
“The partnership with S.O.A.R. is wonderful on so many levels,” Evelyn says. “We’re determining the students’ cognitive abilities and where they function best. When they graduate, they’ll take the next level of gainful employment.”
About 10 students are doing internships at Mean Mug, rotating through on different days and times of day. Meanwhile, Evelyn has hired three new employees and brought two with her from her original location.
She absolutely loves the new location, she says, and she loves the new sign Pete put up for her.
“When he came to the other store and looked at my sign, he said, ‘Can I have a shot at that?’” Evelyn recalls. “I had no idea how much it was gonna blow me away. It’s magnificent. It stands out. It says ‘Progress’ and ‘We’re here.’ It looks like a place I’d want to go inside and see what’s there.”
The new location has about the same depth of the original location, but is narrower. On the other hand, Evelyn says, she has a basement with plenty of storage.
“And there’s a lot of good energy in the building,” she says. “That’s one of the things I’m enjoying most — a new beginning.”