For Amanda Derouchie the memories of gathering with family, specifically with her grandmother at the kitchen table where she would discuss life over a cup of coffee, is exactly what inspired her to open her first business in the village of Cape Vincent.
A Cup of Joy, named after her mother Joy and daughter Hanna Joy, is a specialty coffee shop that also offers treats that complement a cup of coffee or a breakfast and lunch menu, including daily soup and lunch specials, smoothies and more.
“When the opportunity presented itself to buy a business in the form of a coffee shop right in downtown Cape Vincent looking over the beautiful St. Lawrence, I knew that I had finally found my calling in what I wanted to do in the next chapter of my life,” said Derouchie. “Thinking of my grandmother and the many things that centered around coffee growing up I knew exactly what my business plan should be.”
Creating a place that she describes as “warm, cozy, peaceful and calm,” A Cup of Joy is about local flavors and showcases local products made by other area small business owners.
When starting the business, Derouchie says that she knew she wanted to find the perfect local coffee to showcase but was not finding one after multiple tasting. That was until local roasters Lynn and Dan Miller, owners of Gato Diablo, walked in.
“On a cold day in the middle of winter in walked the roast master. He was looking to start up a small business roasting coffee and looking to rent a space to do it,” said Derouchie. “A small space in the back of my shop was the perfect fit for what he was trying to do. His coffee was everything I was searching for. It is bold, smooth, environmentally friendly, and comes from small family-run farms from all over the world. It was going to be that little something different that would set us apart from other shops in the area.”
The specialty coffee is not the only thing that sets A Cup of Joy apart. A women’s boutique and gift shop showcases many products made locally in the north country. This added local element brings a little more ‘joy’ to her customers as they visit the shop, something that is important to Derouchie.
“There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a woman’s face light up when she has found that perfect-fitting outfit that makes her look and feel beautiful,” she said.
For Derouchie, she finds pride in creating an atmosphere where people can take a moment and slow down; a place of family gathering and warm conversation.
“In a world that continues to speed up and always is in a hurry, I wanted my business to represent just the opposite,” said Derouchie. “I wanted to appeal to both locals of the community and visitors coming from other places to experience our beautiful river. That is why I took a leap of faith, and my life savings, and purchased my first business.”
Now, coming up on the fourth summer season, Derouchie is proud of being a woman-owned business, especially as a mother who is leading by example to her children.
“I have had many strong women as bosses in my life that have provided great mentoring,” said Derouchie. “Women who made it look easy being awesome at their jobs, providing a great work environment for their employees, and being fantastic moms to their families. I have three children that you will see often working in the shop. I am so proud of them and the great work ethic they show me every day.”