Cortlynn Stark, The Black Bear – Walk in the door and you are smacked in the face with the rich, warm scent of espresso. The barista is pouring two shots into a red mug, creating a classic Americano drink for the woman in front of you. You think coffee has never smelled so good.
You order “The Thrilla” with two shots of espresso, chocolate, white chocolate, steamed milk and drizzled with local Askinosie Chocolate. The first sip of “The Thrilla” sends a warm tingle to your stomach and you know you made a good choice.
Big Momma’s is one of the most popular coffee shops that enhances a historic Springfield location and strives to make an impact on the community by creating a close-knit family.
A picture perfect location
Big Momma’s sits peacefully on Commercial Street, or C-Street, as it’s commonly known. It’s a charming shop with colorful flowers displayed around the front door and two tables resting outside for extra seating.
The sign for Big Momma’s is big and bright, the orange print steals attention from other businesses. The building itself is built of gray bricks, smushed between faded red bricks buildings.
Once you step inside, you instantly feel at home.
“I like the atmosphere because it’s cozy,” Hali Codling, a barista and sophomore art education major at Missouri State University, says. “It’s kind of like a home away from home and I like the people that come in, the range of people that come in.”
MSU senior nursing major Alyson Manes has been coming to Big Momma’s since middle school.
“I grew up in Springfield,” Alyson Manes said. “So our youth group would come here after services on Sunday nights and hang out. So that’s how I started and I kind of dragged everyone else here.”
Alyson Manes gets coffee regularly with her sister Leah Manes and friend Emily Coulter, both fellow senior nursing majors.
Leah Manes says Alyson Manes has probably bought enough coffee at Big Momma’s that if she spent that money on the shop’s furniture, she would own it.
“This place is probably unique for me because I don’t really drink coffee but this is pretty much the first (coffee shop) I’ve felt comfortable in,” Coulter said. “I’ve been to Mudhouse Coffee and stuff but it’s always been too packed. This one is my favorite.”
Big Momma’s opened in the spring of 2007. Since then, Foster says he’s seen growth, not only in his shop, but in Springfield’s coffee culture.
“I think it’s a good thing that there are many coffee shops and great coffee shops,” Foster says. “I kind of feel like at the end of the day it raises the level for everybody because people are more aware of coffee shops and coffee culture than they’ve ever been.”
A close-knit community
Big Momma’s belongs to a family of local businesses on Commercial Street and has a family within itself. They also aim to be a second home for customers.
“It’s like an old town main street where people are always referring each other,” Foster says. “It’s really like we look out for each other, we watch each other’s backs.”
That type of close-knit family shows in the friendliness of the staff. Codling has been working at Big Momma’s since June of 2015.
“My parents both kind of went their own ways when I was really young so I was kind of left without that family aspect,” Codling says. “And I came here and I got brothers and sisters and grumpy uncles. It was great.”