Local Coffee Shop Runs on Acts of Kindness

The Local Cup runs on two things: locally-produced products and neighborly love. The coffee shop, which functions on a pay-it-forward basis, seeks to cultivate community, gratitude and generosity with every cup it serves.

“Anyone that walks in the door is a neighbor,” barista Annie Maguire shares. “No matter where you’re coming from, we care for each other, and in turn we feel cared for.”


Catherine Griffin, who co-founded The Local Cup, lost her battle with cancer this summer. We honor her commitment to building community.

Video Transcript

Meet Annie Maguire: neighborhood barista

South Bend, Indiana

(Annie wears an apron and stands behind the counter at a coffee shop.)

Annie Maguire: Every cup is brewed with love. I’m very cheesy. I’m a cheesy person. I like to say it’s because I’m from Wisconsin, and we’re a cheese state. Like, um, I can’t expresso how much you bean to me. I love you a latte. Yeah. So you get coffee, you get puns too, when I’m working. Anyone that walks in the door is a neighbor. No matter where you’re coming from, no matter what your story is, we care for each other, and in turn we feel cared for. So even if we don’t know our neighbors, we know that whenever we get a cup of coffee that that’s coming from the community, and that gives you a really great sense of comfort and belonging here. 

What we like to say, whenever we make someone a drink, is that your coffee has been paid for by a neighbor already. 

(Annie waves)

Hi, Mike!

So in that way, we’re just running on the generosity of other people. People walk through the door, they realize we don’t have prices.

(Man stands at counter to order)

Customer: So there’s no prices?

Annie: Nope!

Customer: Man, that’s not right, man. I’m from Chicago. See, this is weird!

Annie: Yeah, right? 

Ultimately, it changes the dynamic completely. 

The Local Cup is sustained by donations from neighbors.

(Customers chat with one another)

There are so many ways to profit as a business. The relationships we have really cultivate the wealth that really matters in our lives because those relationships are going to sustain us. 

(Annie pours boiling water over coffee grounds)

It’s called the bloom. When you first pour water into coffee, it starts to bubble and all the CO2 escapes from the beans into the air. It bubbles for a little bit. It’s the bloom. I think doing pour over coffee really helps you experience the whole brewing process. The smells go into the air, the steam comes out.

This is definitely a space that represents the gifts that this neighborhood has to offer. Even the simple act of sharing a story with someone is a gift, truly, because you don’t have to do that, but you do that because you want to give a little something to someone else that they can hold on to, and those are the small gifts that I think make a big impact. That’s why I feel like it’s such a blessing being here every day, because like I said, it’s not work. This is more of a joy or something that’s spread between people, shared in cups of coffee. We think about how we can give a little bit of our spirit into those small actions. There are not many places like The Local Cup out there, and I think there should be, in every city, in every neighborhood. You know?

In loving memory of the co-founder of The Local Cup, Catherine Griffin

(Customer slowly sips his coffee and smiles)

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