For thirty years, Cups has been the go-to place for Mississippians to fuel up on their favorite espresso drinks and on inspiration from local art. We caught up with Eamonn Cottrell, Cups’ Chief Operations Officer, to get his take on how Cups continues to be a staple for local communities.
Eamonn has been with Cups for over twenty years. He started as a barista working at the cafe in Fondren. It was 2003 and he had just moved to Mississippi from Knoxville, TN. Cups helped him feel at home and find community while he worked to finish his education.
A Connection to Community
“It was a lot of fun because I was able to do schooling and also have this cool job that for me–and the reason that I stayed there for so long in those years–connected me to a community that I was new to,” Eamonn said. “I got to know everyone from homeless people to doctors. I got to be friends with every facet of the community. That’s the thing I loved the most about it.”
After getting his business degree from Millsaps College in 2012, Eamonn returned to Cups, now as part of its business and operations. He noticed that Cups had become an even greater staple to local communities, as more and more people needed a place between work and home to recharge for the day.
“What has not changed is the need to have a ‘third meeting place:’ somewhere to unwind between home and work,” Eamonn said. “And I think that’s why it’s so important for Cups to be in the various communities that it’s in, so that people have a spot to hang out and connect with each other. Zoom has been a godsend the last few years, but it’s not the same as being in person and sharing a coffee. There’s something about that in-person experience that will always be needed, especially at the local level.”
Eamonn says he’s excited for the new drinks, coffees, and innovative roasting techniques that are currently in the works. He also looks forward to seeing Cups continue its tradition as a go-to spot for Mississippi coffee lovers to be inspired.
“When Janice and Dennis talked about Cups, they talked about the desire for it to be a community staple for the neighborhood folks. And so, the core of what they wanted to do was have this art-filled place for anybody from any walk of life to be able to hang out and have a safe place to be. That core hasn’t changed, and it’s what I’ve always loved about Cups.”
Reflecting on 30 Years of Cups
At the end of our chat, Eamonn shared a profound appreciation for Cups, the early days of his career, and all the memories made along the way. Here’s what he had to say:
“I’m about to be 40, so I’ve worked at Cups for half of my life at this point. Working at Cups has been one of the most influential things in my life, and I’m super grateful to the Camerons for starting it.”