By: Chelsea Cornwell
Photos By: Josh Triggs
Locally Grown and Family Made
In the heart of downtown Martinsburg, lies a quaint little building, next to City Hall, with a cozy little patio, enclosed by fence and gate. This hideaway is the new home to ‘Mugs and Muffins’ coffee shop and cafe. When you think about a true family business, this shop epitomizes that definition.
With Lorin Schwarz, the mother of Heather Karopchinsky and mother in law to Beth and Laura Clark, this close, tight-nit group is by far one of the most loving and warm-hearted families I have come across in my travels to different businesses and restaurants.
Mugs and Muffins got its name from Lorin, who started coming up with names in the beginning and would seek the council of the girls (Heather, Beth and Laura), who would either say, “no way!” or “that’s the right path!”. After throwing around several ideas and knowing that Mugs had to be in the name, finally and simply enough, Mugs and Muffins became the cute name that we see on the business today.
Each of the Women come from different backgrounds and how they all arrived together in one place to do this coffee shop and cafe is truly inspiring.
Lorin started with a landscaping company (Picture Perfect Landscaping, based out of Inwood, WV) which she started from scratch, and that landscaping company grew so much that she had to start delegating jobs out to her sons and other members of the community. Heather suggested to her Mother that they do commercial contracting, so they went and looked at a job at the Air National Guard Reserve, wrote up a contract and actually acquired the contract with the Reserve.
With the contract coming through, Heather and her husband moved up to Inwood with their 4 children, and took over the landscaping company so that Lorin could, “…Delegate herself out of the landscaping company.” With the success of Picture Perfect taking off, the ladies all decided that they wanted to do something together.
All of the women have a passion for baking and have been baking for years and years prior to ever even imagining a bakery and cafe to sell out of. Lorin had a history of catering for churches and doing wedding cakes, but the request for her food and baked goodies continued to grow and grow, so, common sense told her that maybe opening a certified kitchen and baking for the community would be a better option for herself and children. “I really just feel that the Lord led us from one place to the next to the next to the next until we ended up here.” Expressed Lorin. “Everything has just fallen into place. We started with a $0.00 budget and everything has just fallen into place and we have gotten everything and more than we need thanks to the Lord and our wonderful community.”
Ideally the plan for Mugs and Muffins is to first and foremost be a coffee shop as they have their own brand of coffees. The coffee is roasted out of Ricks Roasters Coffee Company out of Fredericksburg, VA and he is a veteran so much of his proceeds go to helping veterans and children of veterans which is one of the most important reasons they went with we want to support our other local businesses, so much of our products are locally sourced and almost all of our products are organic and pesticide free.” Lorin stated. They use non GMO meats, butter, ice cream and vegetables. “We are very concerned with where it is produced, how it is produced and ensuring that it is pesticide free,” Heather expressed. A lot of the products that are not certified organic that they of becoming certified. It is the same level of product, but takes less of a financial blow.
When I asked the ladies what the menu was going to entail, they all unanimously stated, “MUFFINS!” Everything is made from scratch, so for example their pumpkin muffins in the fall will be fresh roasted pumpkins with in house made condensed milk to ensure that each muffin is fresh, that the ingredients are in season and at the peak of ripeness, ensuring the best taste, flavor and benefits of being organic and homemade.
Besides the vast array of muffins, there will be scones, gluten free menu items and even low carb vegan options for customers. Being so close to the train station, the women also will be providing grab-and-go sandwiches and menu items for commuters who want something light, fresh and delicious on their ride home. All breads are made fresh, in-house as well as all of the other baked goods. Even the meats are locally sourced and bought from farmers in the area, truly keeping these women and Mugs and Muffins true to their mission statement to stay local for everything. Some of those meats will include pork, sausage, bacon, eggs, chicken and beef. Each of the meats will be transformed into a delicious, delectable sandwich that is melt in your mouth worthy.
Muffins, sandwiches and coffee are not the only specialties as there will also be teas and organic juices for children. Special orders are also on the top of the list of services, so for example, if someone wants a German Chocolate Cake or a Carrot Cake for an event, Lorin and the ladies will take all special orders, fulfill them and deliver to the client. Lorin described that, “Any of those items that you want with better, higher quality, ingredients, we will be providing.” Catering barbeques/ cookouts and special events are another way that Mugs and Muffins services the community, still, of course, standing behind the high level of quality and service that the community desires and deserves.
“We have met so many people and for the two months that we have been working on this location, people have come daily, asking questions and expressing their genuine encouragement for the business to thrive. So, for us being new to this area, it has been a blessing and true testament to the people here that still love supporting local people.” Lorin expressed with joy and appreciation. They have also received a great amount of support from the Main Street Martinsburg Organization by helping them get involved in community events such as the Chocolate Festival and Book Faire this past season, even though the actual restaurant was not open yet. Working with local restaurants is a passion for all of the ladies in order to get their branded items into local businesses not only to get their name out there but to also show support for their fellow community members and business owners.
The ladies explained to me that they will be coming out with their own line of chocolate bars, in a variety of delicious, organic flavors, currently the chocolate bars are sourced out of Berryville from Chocolate Con Amor. Laura asked me, “would you like to try out Chocolate Habanero bar?” and with reluctance, due to me loving spicy things said of course!
Well, I have to say that not only was I surprised by the level of quality that the chocolate is, but the Habanero was perfectly balanced off by the creaminess of the sugar in the chocolate and overall, I must admit, I could eat those chocolate bars on a daily basis with no shame. Between the muffins, chocolate and coffee, personally, being downtown a lot, this will be my new one stop shop for all things savory, sweet and COFFEE!
You can find these ladies not only at their location downtown but also at the Farmers Market on the square for Friday’s at Five this summer. There is no doubt that this new business is one that will thrive, with a family dedicated to one another and love that is clearly present, I encourage everyone that is in the downtown area to stop by and try anything off of their menu as I highly doubt you will be disappointed. In closing, Lorin wanted to express that this location will not be the only one, as she is looking to open 3 or 4 more and franchise out. So keep your eyes and ears open for the name, Mugs and Muffins, as it will soon be a household name for everyone in the Eastern Panhandle that loves everything from Coffee to delicious and organic bites to eat. For more information on Mugs and Muffins, please visit www.mugsandmuffinsbakery.com.