Madison coffee shop owner transitions to groceries to provide for community

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MADISON, N.C. — When Daniel Joyce moved back to his hometown of Madison, he “put all of his eggs” into starting The Mad Bean. A coffee shop that added a deli, and upstairs venue and bar area, it wasn’t immune to the threat of COVID-19.

Now, he’s turning his focus to putting eggs in other peoples’ baskets.

“Yeah, we decided to kind of change gears here recently,” Joyce said.

When restrictions were beginning to be put in place, the venue and bar shut down and the coffee and deli transitioned to curbside only.

But he realized the potential key to solidifying the future of his business may actually be looking toward the past.

For nearly 100 years, the building currently housing The Mad Bean was the site of the Madison Wholesale Grocery Company. While at his mother’s house, Joyce came up with the idea that the most beneficial route for him could be the one most critical to fellow Madisonians.

“It’s 136 years old and it served as a grocery store,” Joyce detailed, regarding the building.

With fears that restrictions would make his current business model even tougher, Joyce found that his vendors were in good supply of the items his community was struggling to find. So, the tables on the first floor were removed and the foods which once sat on the shelves lining its walls were replenished.

“We decided to just bring in as much as we could to try to help be another outlet to get the community their resources and their essentials,” Joyce said.

Today, the business is stocked with kitchen essentials, which is a magnified need in a town where there are few places to grocery shop.

Or, at least he tries to keep it that way.

“We can’t keep them,” Joyce said, of eggs. “We’re ordering a truck every other day just to keep stock.”

He adds that they’re carrying everything they can, while preferring items in bulk so families don’t have to make multiple trips.

“It almost seems like we’re all working for each other’s businesses right now. There’s no inhibitions, everybody’s helping everybody,” Joyce said, of Madison.

Now, his attention is turning to forming more relationships with locals, such as farmers who can provide whole chickens, ground beef and pork.

“We’re working with three right now, who in about a month out will have some stock for us,” Joyce said.

In the meantime, they’ll continue to do curbside pickup for sandwiches, soups and salads. It’s that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” mentality that Joyce believes will carry his town through a global pandemic.

“We are American,” he said. “This small town is one of the most American towns I know and every single one of us have rallied together.”

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