Happy Bean Coffee is owned and run by Cassie and Nate Johnson, who both originally came to the area to attend Mount Vernon Nazarene University (MVNU). The idea for Happy Bean came to Cassie in a dream, and she woke up knowing that God wanted her to open a coffee shop. After originally opening the shop in Apple Valley, the Johnsons moved downtown, something they always planned to do.
The Johnsons attribute their success downtown to their goals for the coffee shop: providing locals with excellent coffee in a comfortable space that encourages conversation and inspires hope. The couple places a special emphasis on customer service, which sets them apart from large chains, like Starbucks and Tim Horton’s, where customers have a much more impersonal experience.
Happy Bean has also contributed to the downtown revitalization effort in Mount Vernon by creating another incentive for residents to visit downtown and making use of the public space that the shop provides. Happy Bean is home to a MVNU conference room, where they bring members of the community together to host monthly poetry readings and open mic nights. Having this separate space allows them to keep the main space open and sacred for customers looking to chat with friends or get work done.
Once the Johnsons begin to get the shop profiting, they hope to fund and support community wellness efforts, such as drug rehabilitation and prison ministries.
…Nate and I are so hopeful about downtown and its development. Not that everybody else isn’t, but I think that kind of just draws people to this space.
Photo: Happy Bean’s most popular drink: a flavored latte.
Written by Becca Foley (’20) and Rachel Contri (’20)