The CUP & CRUMB fills a niche in Moultonborough and beyond
The aroma of espresso and scrumptious baked goods fresh from the oven greets customers as soon as they cross the threshold at the new Cup & Crumb café and bakery at 84 Governor Wentworth Highway.
Cup & Crumb owners Kimberly and Mike Prause, who opened the café just in time for the 2015 summer tourism season, have transformed the 103-year-old vacant building into a business that fills a niche in the community and provides a spot to, literally, slow down and smell the coffee.
Several years in the planning stages, Kimberly, a former English teacher and Assistant Principal at Moultonborough Academy, envisioned a relaxed setting that offered more than a drive-through service or convenience store counter. “I wanted it to be cozy, different from what we already had here. I wanted it to be somewhere I would want to hang out,” Kim said.
After purchasing the 1,200-square-foot building and eventually obtaining a variance from the town’s zoning board of adjustment to open a commercial venture, the owners hired Moultonborough-based Lacewood Construction to oversee the building renovation. But first, the owners needed to obtain bank financing to supplement their own investment into the new business. Kim said they applied for a construction and equipment loan from Meredith Village Savings Bank with assistance from MVSB Banker Charlie Gorhan who “did the legwork.” Kim adds that it was Gorhan who informed them about another financing resource, the Wolfeboro-based Wentworth Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO), a private nonprofit 501 (c)(3) regional economic development corporation serving businesses of all sizes in Brookfield, Effingham, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, Moultonborough, New Durham, Sandwich, Tuftonboro, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro. Through WEDCO, the owners secured a $65,000 loan that was applied towards the MVSB construction loan.
“Without WEDCO’s assistance, I don’t think we could have gotten a traditional loan, especially for a start-up in the food service industry,” added Kim.
With its motto of, “Our business is helping business,” WEDCO offers two business-financing programs, the Revolving Loan Fund and Intermediary Lending Program, with the common goal of retaining or creating jobs in the region.
WEDCO Executive Director Denise Roy-Palmer lauded the Cup and Crumb endeavor as one with multiple benefits.
“This is a perfect example of members of the community having a vision for a vacant underutilized land/building located on a main thoroughfare, and transforming it into an aesthetically pleasing property that serves as a home for a great new business, becomes a destination for residents and visitors alike, and creates employment opportunities,” she said. “WEDCO is proud to be a part of it,” she added.
Even prior to loan approval, the couple started preparing for their financial future. Kim had already left her job at the school and was working on the Cup & Crumb business plan, financing and location options. She said they got used to living off of Mike’s salary from his own company, Calico Graphics in Wolfeboro, and prepared for the financial obligations of a new business venture. Kim attributes Mike’s experience as a self-employed business owner with providing the confidence and expertise to pursue the Cub & Crumb. Professionally, Kim said the timing was right and that she was ready to try something new.
“I was ready to make a change in my career,” she said. So, what’s the best thing about running your own café? “You can make all the decisions,” she said, adding the downside, “ but you have to make all the decisions.”
These days she gets a sense of satisfaction by seeing her business plan come to fruition – and by recognizing that the Cup & Crumb is already attracting regular customers. This summer season is particular busy as the café and bakery cater to the seasonal crowd that flock to nearby housing communities such as Suissevale and Balmoral on Lake Winnipesauke, Kim said.
Eat in or to go - On a recent Friday afternoon, the café was busy with both sit-down and take out customers.
The interior design is rustic chic and relaxed, with a built-in gas fireplace, several seating areas and an L-shaped counter constructed in painted blue/gray barn-board. A large glass covered display showcases an array of baked goods — all home-made — such as the top selling blueberry and pear scones, lemon squares, croissants, whoopee pies, cookies, cheesecake, biscotti, coffee cake, muffins, quiche, whole cakes and cream and fruit pies. Beverages choices include espresso, cappuccino, latte, regular fresh brewed coffees, hot chocolate and an assortment of leaf and herb teas. A chalkboard announced a special discount for runners or walkers.
Full time Pastry Chef Jennifer Clifford is the maestro in the bakery, creating the menu assortment from scratch daily for the café as well as for custom orders through her baking business, For Goodness Cakes, she runs from the café and her home kitchen.
Kim actually taught Clifford at Moultonborough Academy, and got to know about her penchant and talent when the student job-shadowed local well-known pastry chef Donna Love. Clifford, who has been baking since she was eight-years-old, starting working for Love part time during the last two years of high school and upon graduation worked at Donna’s bakery, Love Bites, and Love’s Quay in Wolfeboro.
Coming to work with and for Kim at Cup & Crumb and For Goodness Cakes is both creative and professionally satisfying. “Kim is awesome to work with and we get very creative here,” said Clifford. “It’s not a cookie cutter, same thing every day, business.”
The Cub & Crumb cafe and bakery located at 84 Governor Wentworth Highway (at the corner of Route 109 and Old Route 109, is open on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, visit cupandcrumb.com, or call the bakery at 603-476-7078.