It was more than just a coffee shop.
University Cup, 1027 S. Franklin St., was a place where students and surrounding residents could come get their morning coffee, see a familiar face, study or just hang out. It was a place that provided an alternative to the bar and a home away from home.
This was the vision of U-Cup owners Tim Driessnack and Lori Lapham Driessnack when they first opened up the coffee shop in 1994, marking their territory as the first campus coffee shop. They were two ambitious newlyweds ready to quit their corporate jobs and embark on a new, exciting journey.
“Even when we worked our corporate jobs, we always had that entrepreneur spirit in us,” Tim said.
Nineteen years later, and Tim and Lori have announced the closing of their beloved coffee shop.
“It was a painful decision that we had been struggling with for almost a year now,” Lori said.
With the opening of Starbucks in the Bovee University Center and several Java City locations on campus, U-Cup was thrown a curveball.
“We tried to keep it up as long as we could, but we just could not compete with how convenient the other coffee shops are – being that they are right on campus in the UC and library,” Tim said.
The Driessnacks said the biggest thing they will miss is their wonderful and loyal customers and staff.
“I really enjoyed working with college students,” Tim said. “I got the chance to invest in them by helping mentor them and give advice.”
Mid Michigan Community College student Matthew Owen made it a habit to go to U-Cup every Thursday to get a cup of joe with his friends after His House church services. He also went for open mic nights or to study.
“Every time I would go there, I would see at least five friends I knew, and we would get the chance to study or just to catch up,” Owen said.
Former student Alexis Nicole started going as a student back in 1999. Now, she lives not too far from U-Cup and has made it a point to visit at least a couple of times a week.
When she did go, Nicole typically ordered her usual: a Raspberry Nut Mocha and Calypso Chicken.
“It was a really good place to meet up, study and talk … Sad to see it go,” she added.
Long-time customer John Gerhard started going to the coffee shop when it first opened. Over the years, Gerhard built relationships with the Driessnacks, baristas and customers.
“I met a lot of good people over the years,” Gerhard said. ”I still keep in touch with a lot the baristas.”
Since Gerhard first started frequenting the shop, he was hooked.
“When I had to take trips out-of-town, I would go out my way to stop by University Cup to get some coffee and to say hi,” Gerhard said.
Even though the Franklin Street location is closing, there is good news for the avid U-Cupper: There still is a University Cup location in the McLaren-Central Michigan Hospital, located at 1221 South Drive.