Icon (Close Menu)


Morrilton Roastery Spurring Revitalization One ‘Cuppa’ at a Time

3 min read

To start turning their plans into reality, some people need a little something to put a pep in their step. Most caffeine fiends find their kickstart in coffee.

Jaim Krutz certainly did when she and her family decided to open Big Cuppa, a small-batch roastery and beverage shop in Morrilton.

The idea for the roastery spurred from Krutz’s interest in helping revitalize Morrilton’s downtown.

“The coffee side came from our son, Joe, an experienced coffee shop manager,” Krutz said. “His skill set and love of coffee combined with our desire for revitalization was a perfect match.”

When it came to starting the business, Krutz said it wasn’t quite as hard as she expected due to her team and the amount of community support. The difficult part has been growing the business.

“Scaling my business has been much harder. I wanted to remain a small coffee shop while still growing and seeing how far we could go as a group,” she said. “That’s why we opened the roastery. The capital necessary to do that was much greater than expected because gaining clients to support that side of the business took much longer than expected.”

“Most still know us as a coffee shop, and the marketing and sales involved in letting our customer base know that we are so much more has been our biggest challenge.”

Big Cuppa in Morrilton (Kimberly Berkemeyer)

But the client support for Big Cuppa eventually came and, even better, never stopped. The community support grew with some new businesses finding inspiration in the shop’s revitalization efforts.

“Many new businesses have started since Big Cuppa opened. One particular building owner says he bought and refurbished his building because we bought and refurbished ours,” Krutz said. “We do believe several businesses and community events have happened because of the chance encounters that happen every morning in our shop.”

While client support plays a big role in growing the brand, employee support is just as important, especially for the city’s economy. Big Cuppa has 13 employees, six of whom moved to Morrilton for their jobs and three of whom bought a home in the town.

Learning Curves

One of the most important parts of running a business such as Big Cuppa is ensuring there’s enough inventory to keep up with demand.

That means planning for unexpected challenges is a must. With the 2020 pandemic, the shop lost the dependable inventory supply it counted on.

(Kimberly Berkemeyer)

So Krutz and Big Cuppa adapted and overcame with a simple solution: become the supplier.

“When the supply chain disruptions came in 2020, we found it easier to just be our own supplier. Now we distribute cups, sauces, syrups and, obviously, coffee to other coffee shops, offices and other restaurants,” Krutz said. “Our goal is to assist other businesses in managing their inventory challenges. We are local, and most of our clients are local. They are able to keep lower inventories because they know they can count on us should they unexpectedly need a product.”

Cup Runneth Over

Today, Big Cuppa offers coffee, equipment and repair, beverage supplies and training. Plus it offers private labeling, adding company names and logos to the coffee they roast. Continuing its mission of helping Morrilton, local schools and organizations can fundraise by selling Big Cuppa coffee.

Big Cuppa has two locations in Morrilton and is in the planning stages of opening a third location in Russellville in 2024.

For Big Cuppa, a small town like Morrilton is the perfect place to begin a journey.

“The barriers to entry are low, including the cost, but the potential for growth is endless,” Krutz said. “More importantly, we live here — all of us. Our grandson is going to grow up here. I can’t think of a better reason to invest in a community than that.”

Send this to a friend