Zachariah: Looking Back

I remember two years ago in March walking from the University of Kentucky to this place called A Cup of Common Wealth. I hadn't really heard much about the shop before, but I knew that I could get a free drink and that's the only incentive a college student needs. So I walk half a mile to a small building on a small street with some weirdos inside it: some quiet guy named Joe and an excited girl named Basil. 

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Leap Day Memories

Every year, the earth rotates around the sun 365.25 times. Which means that every four years, because we have these things called calendars, we have to account for those extra .25 days, and we get Leap Day.


Now, you know us, and you know that if you give us even the tiniest reason to celebrate and throw a party, then we’ll throw a party.

So this year (being a leap year) we decided to throw a party.


It was a heck of fun day – Jeff downloaded an airhorn app on his phone that he used excessively every time a customer came in; Alex acted like she normally does times about 5,000; Mike made some loud, weird noises from time to time; we used a selfie stick and took way too many photos; and all hands were on deck to make it the best Monday EVER.

Alexandra Canada and her selfie stick.  Thanks for participating Bo and MikeyRuRu!

Alexandra Canada and her selfie stick.  Thanks for participating Bo and MikeyRuRu!

And, along the way, we had a few challenges for people – one of our pals played Pictionary with us first thing in the morning; we had a bunch of folks sit down in our tiny little café space and leapfrog each other; a couple of people whipped and nae-naed for free drinks; people jumped out into the street yelling, “HAPPY LEAP DAY!”


We gave away free drinks for an hour starting at 2:29, and loved seeing the looks on people’s faces (even some of the baristas, when we told them about it!) while they processed why we chose such a ‘random’ time.

Free Drinks with Magnus!

Free Drinks with Magnus!

We ate these unbelievably delicious chocolate bourbon cream pies that Rian from Pig and Pepper made us.


You could say that it’s a silly thing for us to throw a party about, but we like to look at it this way:

Once every four years, you get a whole extra day. Why not make it great? Why not use it to do all of the stuff we normally say we don’t have time to do? Why not share a little kindness? Why not be a little crazy? Dance a little; share a little; shout a little; download airhorn apps a little; and most of all, celebrate each other – a lot.

That’s what we love about being a part of such a wonderful community like you all – together, we find a little reason to celebrate and have fun, and we run with it. 


We had a lot of fun this year (on Leap Day and beyond!) and we appreciate you all for joining us. 

Friends & Family Night + Grand Opening of Common Wealth Mercantile

We’re gearing up for a celebration on the 26th and 27th of May.  You may be asking yourself – what could those crazy baristas at A Cup of Common Wealth be planning? 

December 2014 - The Baristas with their stockings (crazy as ever)

December 2014 - The Baristas with their stockings (crazy as ever)

Well, did you know that in mid-March we found out the space next to us would be available to lease? 

And, did you know that we said, hecks to the yeah, when our landlord asked us if we wanted to expand? 

And, did you know we’ve been working on getting it open and connected to the shop ever since? 

And, did you know we finally knocked that wall down and now we’ve got this nifty place called Common Wealth Mercantile – the kid bro-rista to A Cup of Common Wealth?   

The evolution of the Pay It Forward Board; aaaaand with our expansion we found a way to celebrate the past.

The evolution of the Pay It Forward Board; aaaaand with our expansion we found a way to celebrate the past.

So, now you know – and guess what else?  We’re having a Friends and Family Night on May 26th from 6p to 9p and a Grand Opening for the Mercantile on May 27th at 11a.  We’re ridiculously pumped about this and there is even more meaning around this celebration than people probably realize.   


You see a long, long time ago, in a distant place far, far away, we opened up the blue door of A Cup of Common Wealth.  What many may not realize is that on the night before we opened, we hosted a Friends and Family Night.  We were still relatively new to Lexington, but we had a packed house!  **Disclaimer – our shop was very, very, very, very small back then – a packed house wasn’t the most difficult of things. 


Friends and Family Night June 30, 2013

Friends and Family Night June 30, 2013

We invited anyone and everyone we knew in the area.  A few people from across the country showed up, some people in the Lexington area that had helped us with construction came by, and some people from the neighborhood stopped by.  For about three hours we made drinks, we took espresso shots together, and we chatted with old and new friends alike.


By the end of the night, after everyone had left and the last trash bag was taken out, Sal sat with three close, coffee friends.  Friends he met at Water Street a decade earlier.  They talked about their shifts shared at Water Street, their love for the coffee industry, and the future of the coffee shop.  It is a conversation he holds dearly and one very few people (up until today) had ever known happened.  Interestingly enough, one of the last things they joked about was what the plan was for the shop’s grand opening.

The ever-expanding Pay It Forward board

The ever-expanding Pay It Forward board

It’s a funny thing what urgent matters and important tasks can do to you.  They take away your time and they demand it constantly. 

After a week or two we didn’t have a grand opening, then a month went by, then summer went by, and then we went through fall.  After about five months, we accepted that a grand opening wasn’t in the cards. 

So many ideas that fell to the wayside – live music, food, drinks, free coffee, balloons (you have to have balloons at a grand opening), banners, friends and family from all across the country, and this and that.  We don’t regret it; we accept it as part of our story, part of who we are.


Buuuut now, we get a chance to have a Grand Opening for A Cup of Common Wealth’s little bro and we wouldn’t miss it for the world!


Crazy old sign!  We love this guy even through all of his changes.

Crazy old sign!  We love this guy even through all of his changes.

If you’re up for it, come on down to the corner of Main St and Eastern Ave and celebrate with us:

Friends and Family Night: Thursday May 26th 6p – 9p

     We’ll have some free coffee, cold coffee, and snacks.  We’ll also be giving tours explaining some of the history and what else is still to come.


Common Wealth Mercantile Grand Opening: Friday May 27th 11a – 1p

     Come on down and hang out with us – we’ll probably have a free drink or two, some loud noises, and guided tours from your friendly, neighborhood baristas.