Wheeling Coffee Shop Owner Offers Lesson in Perseverance
By: Jeremy Morris
It seems the only appropriate word to describe Grant Coleman’s quest to build Wheeling’s latest coffee shop, Mugshots, located at 1109 Main Street in Downtown Wheeling.
Mugshots was open just six days before Governor Jim Justice issued the closure of indoor dining due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “It was our soft-opening, I was still refining our workflow, figuring out vendors and orders,” says Coleman. “But honestly, we were overwhelmed with customers that week. I was excited that people had found us so quickly.”
All that changed with the Governor’s order to shelter in place at home. The following week business was down 86%, “that made for a tough second week,” laughs Coleman.
Launching Mugshots hasn’t been easy. It has taken two years of battling through multiple locations. Waiting out the start-and-stop restoration of two different building projects and watching one of those restorations fall apart entirely. Then one-week into opening his dream business Coleman was faced with a global pandemic that curtailed foot-traffic downtown and iced the pocketbooks of coffee drinkers.
He brushes it all off with a great deal of optimism, and one quickly gathers that optimism is a cornerstone of Coleman’s character. He says he doesn’t invest too much energy into the 24-hour non-stop news, “one way or another we will get through this, get through it together, and I plan on Mugshots being here when we do.”
Coleman says building community is a priority for Mugshots. He aspires to be a place for coffee connoisseurs, foodies, and music lovers to gather. He also hopes that it becomes a place that appeals to people of all walks of life and that Mugshots evolves into a traditional salon-style coffee house where friends come to share and deliberate ideas.
It is already a place that fosters the local small business community. “It’s more important than ever to support small business,” says Coleman. “We have all been hit hard.”
Coleman has put a focus on serving regionally roasted coffee out of Pittsburgh, locally-crafted coffee mugs from East Wheeling Clay Works, and Under Elder Tree in Centre Market has created a custom Mugshots tea blend which is served in-house.
Coffee has been a consistent thread in Coleman’s life, sewing together essential relationships. He met his wife while slinging coffee at the former Second Cup Cafe in North Wheeling.
“I worked evenings, and my wife Devan was a regular customer. We were always friendly, but I felt she was a bit too young for me to date, though everyone else disagreed,” says Coleman.
“When Second Cup decided to close its doors, I worked the last shift and when I had washed the last dish, Devan was there waiting to give me a hug,” he recalls.
“I reached over to give her a professional side-armed hug. She dove into my chest with both arms and squeezed,” Coleman laughs, “I decided I better get this girl’s number.”
Twelve years and two kids later, the two remain happily married. “Devan is super supportive of this whole venture, through all the ups and downs of the start-up,” says Coleman. Additionally, Devan’s father, Rocco Basil, is a respected chef in the region. He handcrafts the soups served at Mugshots.
Oh, and that name, Mugshots.
It is a play on the word. You can undoubtedly get a mug of coffee filled full of espresso shots if you choose. However, the walls and tables are also covered with celebrity mugshots. Plus, there is a police line-up background on the wall where you and your friends can take your selfie mugshots for sharing on social media.
Mugshots is open Sun 10:00 am-3:00 pm, Mon-Fri 6:30 am-7:00 pm, closed on Saturdays.
Find Mugshots online at https://www.facebook.com/mugshots304/.