For Roasters & Retailers

Sublette coffee shop has a lot more to offer than just coffee

Kelly Cicchetti parked out front of Local Cup &Cake in downtown Sublette on a windy weekday morning.

“Here comes Kelly,” said Chelsea Neave, the barista working the front counter.

Neave saw Cicchetti pull up through the window across from the counter and immediately knew what to get: Large coffee. Cream. Sugar.

The cup of coffee was waiting on the counter when Cicchetti walked through the front door.

“They know I’m running late sometimes,” Cicchetti said. She stops each day on her way from her home in Sublette to her job in Amboy.

“I don’t have to spend time; I can put my sugar in and go.”

Local Cup &Cake owner Haley Hanson bakes all cupcakes for the shop. “I kind of just make stuff up,” said Hanson. I’m like, ‘What sounds good?’ And I try to turn it into a cupcake. I made a peach cobbler cupcake. I’ll try anything. You name it, I try to make it.”

The window wasn’t really thought of as more than just a window at Local Cup and Cake, which opened in September in the Sublette Mini Mall at 100 S. Front St., but Neave and her sister, owner Haley Hanson, have learned to use it to their advantage.

“It’s a small-town coffee shop,” Hanson said a place where everyone knows everyone else’s name.

“We’re aiming to have the vibe of kind of a low-key hangout place for anybody of all ages, to relax or come get coffee,” she said. “Just a friendly, inviting atmosphere. Not too busy.”

That’s something that sets the shop apart from its corporate competitors, Hanson said.

“It’s not crazy, and everything is fresh, from grounding the beans to making the espresso. All done right when you order it,” she said.

The coffee isn’t the only thing made fresh. The shop sells muffin and cupcakes too, and not necessarily the same kind day in and day out, either.

“I kind of just make stuff up,” said Hanson, who does all of the baking. “I’m like, ‘What sounds good?’ And I try to turn it into a cupcake. I made a peach cobbler cupcake. I’ll try anything. You name it, I try to make it.”

Hanson and her husband, Josh, moved to Sublette in September 2016 to be closer to his family, who’ve lived in the area for generations. Haley is originally from Salem, Wisconsin, and the self-admitted coffee lover grew up making baked goods with her aunt.

Once she settled into Sublette, she couldn’t find just the right coffee to please her palate.

“I was having to drive to Peru to get coffee,” Hanson said. “I didn’t know of any small places anywhere, and I just thought [Sublette] needed it. There really isn’t anything within 5 miles that I knew of.”

She found space in the mini mall to rent out, and started setting the business up, getting it ready for business just in time for Sublette Fest weekend on Sept. 9.

The business is very active on Facebook (at Local Cup &Cake), where Hanson makes frequent posts letting customers know about her latest creations. Usually, there is one cupcake flavor a day, and two on weekends.

And the creations don’t stop there.

Hanson and Neave make their own coffee syrup flavors as well, including vanilla, caramel, and other flavors. Some are seasonal, like peppermint and maple cinnamon for winter, and pumpkin and brown sugar for fall.

“We started with buying one of the top brands,” Neave said, “and then we were exposed to all of the possible syrup flavors.”

The shop also sells small gifts, like T-shirts and necklaces. Customers can also find special blends of lip balm, including chocolate peppermint, apple cider, and chai tea.

“We were thinking about what else we’d want to buy if we went to a small, local coffee shop,” Hanson said. “I don’t know, but we were like, ‘Let’s make our own chap stick.’ We tried it out, it went well, and so we have continued to make it.”

The shop is also branching out into activities, like its first kids painting party on Jan. 21. There’ll be two sessions 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. where kids can paint on wood signs with silhouettes on them. More details, including cost, are available on the business’ Facebook page.

From cups to cakes to kids parties, it’s all part of Hanson’s goal of making their small-town coffee shop a big part of their community.

Business hours vary for the shop, which accepts cash, check, and credit and debit cards. Check its Facebook page for updates on hours.

Baked goods can be pre-ordered, with at least a few days in advance, by emailing the company at or messaging Local Cup &Cake on Facebook.

By Cody Cutter 

© Copyright 2018, Sauk Valley Newspapers (Dixon-Sterling, IL). All Rights Reserved.

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