Clovis coffee shop Kuppa Joy is planning to open its first Fresno location across from Fresno High School in late summer or early fall.
The Christian coffee shop started by a former pro football player is taking over an antique shop at 1900 Echo Avenue, on the corner of Normal Avenue.
The neighborhood is already eagerly anticipating Ampersand ice cream’s opening, scheduled for late May, in the same block. If Kuppa Joy draws as many people as it does to the seemingly always busy Old Town Clovis location, there will be a new energy in the area.
Kuppa Joy is owned by Zack Follett, a Clovis High grad and former Detroit Lions football player whose career was cut short by a neck injury. He’s also a deeply religious man who says Kuppa Joy’s mission is to spread the word of Jesus Christ.
“It’s to go out and be a light in the community, not just serve great coffee, but be a place of peace, hope and comfort and share the love of Christ,” he says.
And here’s where things get interesting. It’s one thing to open a Christian coffee shop in Clovis, where you’ll find many regular churchgoers. But on the edge of the Tower District, where it’s easy to find someone who proudly proclaims themselves an atheist?
Follett says he knows this location will be different. He says he wasn’t saved until he was 20 and he remembers how people throwing “Jesus in my face kind of annoyed me.”
“I want it to be subtle,” he says.
And if you were just breezing into Kuppa Joy in Clovis, you might not even notice the signs quoting Scripture or have seen the “praise Jesus” Facebook post on Easter morning. And not all the employees are Christian, Follett notes.
On the other hand, at least one person has referred to the coffee shop as “Kuppa Jesus.”
Follett says he’s more about “connecting people to their creator by exemplifying a genuine love to one another.”
“By the way we love each other, we make God known,” he says. “So one of the ways to show love is to go into a community and have barbecues and (community events). We want a place where people who don’t know God can feel comfortable to come.”
There may be weekly events timed for the after-school crowd in which Follett shares his story, including the message of Christ.
But first, says Follett, you’ve got to serve good coffee.
“If the product’s not good, you’re not going to have any customers coming through your doors.”
Taste & Toast of the Tower
The annual Taste & Toast of the Tower is Thursday, May 14, from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
This is the event where people stroll the Tower District, sampling from 48 food stations and 16 wineries set up at restaurants and inside furniture stores and galleries.
As the poetic news release says, “from meatloaf to Merlot, pasta to pastry, coffee to cake, pizza to Pinot, and so much more will be served up with warm, Tower hospitality.”
The newest Menchies Frozen Yogurt is open in the Clovis Commons shopping center at Herndon and Willow avenues.
Its grand opening has started already and runs through Friday. You may find giveaways, family-friendly activities or other surprises there in the next few days.