Mckinney Courier-gazette > News
Feels like home: Snug cozies up to patrons on the square
Kelsey Kruzich / Staff Photos – Located on N. Kentucky Street on the square in historic downtown McKinney, Snug opened in July and has since created an enthusiastic following thanks to its welcoming atmosphere and delectable menu items.
Sandra Nichols knew her coffee shop on the square in downtown McKinney had arrived when a local pastor, having been so moved by the gentle hustle and bustle of the place, took her hand, looked at her and said, "Congratulations, you've created community."
That's when Nichols knew Snug on the Square Coffeehouse and Café was becoming a local favorite.
"I wanted it to be a place of community," she said. "I wanted it to be a place of gathering and conversation for all people. I intentionally don't have any [TV] screens in here at all. I just wanted it to be a place where you can sit and hang out and just have conversation."
Opened on July Fourth, Snug serves a variety of breakfast and lunch sandwiches, soups, salads, freshly made bakery goods, desserts and coffee. The name pretty much says it all - come in and stay a while. Simple furniture, comfy couches, laid back background music, and deli-style ordering provide prompt service for patrons pressed for time and those who wish to kick their feet up and stay awhile.
While the word "snug" is an accurate description for the shop's cozy atmosphere, Nichols said the name actually possesses a duel meaning.
"I literally had a whole list of adjectives and words that I played with [when thinking of] different names for the shop," she said. "I started really looking at the spot and how snug it is. It's so narrow, 16 feet wide but 75 feet long, and it's snug between two buildings."
Getting her business up and running has been several years in the making. The opening itself took six months, as fairly extensive plumbing and electrical renovations were required. Formerly from Charlotte, N.C., the wife and mother of five moved to McKinney with her family about a year ago for her husband's job. Having managed a Caribou Coffee in Charlotte, Nichols tapped into her past business experiences, as well as the expertise of her father who is a McDonald's franchise owner/operator, in creating her business plan. The plan took four years to develop, she said.
"I took a part time job at Spoons just to get to know the area and loved McKinney," Nichols said. "But I knew my passion was to open one of my own coffee shops like this."
With no family and virtually no friends for support, Nichols wondered if her vision had a chance to take shape on the square. The inhibitions disappeared pretty quickly, however, once she realized changes were needed in the kitchen to accommodate for the increased volume. Between that and staying in tune with what the public is saying, Nichols feels she and her staff are on the right track to success.
"Every single sandwich that goes out, every coffee that goes out I'm watching," Nichols said. "If I didn't personally make it, I'm very conscious of making sure that it's timed well, that the toast is coming out right when that omelet comes out so that they're both hot. The feedback that I'm getting from people is they're enjoying the quality and the flavor."
In addition to the signature menu items, Snug also boasts trinkets and home décor items for sale from the Natural Life product line, as well as from a handful of local artisans. A lot of what one sees and experiences at Snug are brainchildren of Nichols that, up until a couple of months ago, have existed only in her heart.
"I pulled a Natural Life ad out of a magazine and I stuck it to my bathroom mirror and it's been hanging on my bathroom mirror for [about] four years," Nichols said. "I've known that if I could ever do a store, this would be my line. It's all very funky, very hippy, very free-spirited. "
Nichols said the key to her success has been an emphasis on making that connection with each customer, providing consistency with the speed and quality of service and most of all, being a "yes" person.
"My dad always used to say [to his customers], 'the answer is yes, now what is the question?'" Nichols said. "That's what I tell all of [my employees]. You have my permission and freedom to exceed expectations. I'm going to give you the power to go ahead and say yes and make it happen somehow."
Seeing her dream unfolding and coming to fruition has been has been "humbling beyond words," and she hopes Snug can continue to be a catalyst for community development in McKinney.
"I'm generally interested in building that relationship and making that connection with you," Nichols said. "Honestly it's been very natural. Seeing the same repeat customers come back means so much."
Snug is located at 109 N. Kentucky St. and is open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information visit http://www.facebook.com/SnugOnTheSquare or call 972-548-SNUG (7684).
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