Amy Snider had a 20-year career in women’s soccer working with a semi-professional women’s league and a youth club before she decided she needed to spend more time closer to home. After she quit the soccer business, she spent three months wondering what she was going to do next.
And then one day she was approached by the owner of Mugs Coffee Shop, her favorite hang-out place in Fort Collins. The owner wondered if she would have any interest in managing the shop. Snider had no background in the coffee shop business, but before she had time to think about the offer, the owner made a new one: Would she like to buy the place? The owner was moving out of town and had decided she didn’t want to continue owning the shop from afar.
Very much a people person, Amy had been missing interaction with the community. In July 2019 she took the plunge and became a small business owner. Mugs became Cups Community Coffee and Snider had herself a new career.
“The business was healthy when I bought it,” she explained. “That made the decision easier.”
Little did she know how soon the world would change and along with it, her business. “Covid-19 has given me a new perspective,” she said. Today she is more involved with the community than ever before. Feeling the need to do something to help first responders, she began raising funds in order to initiate Cuplift, a program to provide coffee to those on the front lines. Using donated funds, Cups provided coffee, baked goods, and Consuelo’s burritos, making 70 deliveries which served 1,100 people during a 10-week period. Recipients included police, paramedics, hospital, and mental health workers. “Funds that were given to us, we passed along to them,” Snider explained. The Cuplift program made it possible for her to stay afloat and keep all her staff employed.
Through a Go Fund Me effort, she raised $5,000, enough to initiate phase two, allowing Cups to deliver coffee and goodies to retail stores and restaurants, businesses hit especially hard by the virus crisis.
Late-night texts and phone calls to old friends netted another couple thousand dollars to keep the program alive. In addition to the food and drink, recipients receive an encouraging message with each delivery.
Making deliveries takes time and requires staff to be away from the shop. Recently Otter Cares, the philanthropic arm of Otterbox recently stepped up. The company donated containers to keep the coffee hot and provided five volunteers to make deliveries.
Snider is planning on a third and continuing phase when she plans to reach out to businesses and offer them an opportunity to sponsor a Cuplift for their employees.
“We’re doing better these days but still grinding away,” Snider says. Giving to her community inspires her and results in unexpected returns.
Her latest project is creating a welcoming patio shaded by a large tree in front of the coffee shop. She sees it as a spot where people can enjoy their favorite drink and the opportunity to socialize outdoors in a safe environment.
She is a long way away from her career in women’s soccer. She’s learned how to operate a small business and at the same time stay in close touch with the local community. Without the advent of a pandemic, her path as a new business owner would have been quite different.
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