Ugly Mugs is my favorite local coffee shop. I love to go there to write and think and work.
It is always packed. I mean ALWAYS. Ugly Mugs provides a safe haven for digital entrepreneurs like myself. It’s probably my favorite place in Nashville.
When I heard of businesses being shut down due to coronavirus, they were the first business that I thought about. If Ugly Mugs were to go out of business, I would be heartbroken.
Within a day of the city suggesting shutdowns, I received an email from Ugly Mugs letting me know that they were staying open but were only offering pickup services.
Ugly Mugs had acted quickly and built an online shopping platform that connected directly into their POS. With this functionality, I can easily go to the website, place an order, and then pick my order up at the counter.
Yesterday was my first time through this process, so I decided to call to see if I could place an order through the phone. They politely answered and actually requested I do it online because they had so many orders coming in and the POS system helps them manage their orders.
I went online and placed my order. It was easy to do. I showed up ten minutes later, and our coffees and a blueberry muffin were sitting on the counter with a thank you note.
Ugly Mugs quickly adapted to a digital model. They essentially transformed themselves into a hybrid e-commerce business with a service pick up station. It is saving their business.
Should Ugly Mugs completely transform its business into a coffee pickup station? No. There’s no question that the coronavirus is hurting them, just like it’s hurting everyone else. The sooner they can return to being a sit-in local coffee shop, the better.
However, because of their digital presence, their ability to adapt online, and the email list they have developed, they are going to survive and possibly come out on the other side as a thriving community staple.