City | 8:32 pm | April 30, 2010 | By Jordi Gassó and Esther Zuckerman

Publick Cup to become Blue State

Balloons decorated the storefront and interior of The Publick Cup on Friday, and a big whiteboard one the counter thanked the shop’s customers, alongside a giant celebratory card on which patrons could sign and write their good wishes. “We will miss your funky murals” and pleas for a new reopening at the Yale Law School were some of the comments that adorned the big greeting card.

It was the last day of business for The Publick Cup, the coffee shop on York Street, which will reopen again on Tuesday as New Haven’s second Blue State Coffee, Blue State co-founder Andrew Ruben ’11 said.

Blue State is keeping all of The Publick Cup’s employees and adopting its catering business, Ruben said. The coffee will change to Blue State’s, but The Publick Cup’s selection of teas will remain.

“The goal is when we open on Tuesday to have it look and feel and taste like a Blue State Coffee,” Ruben said.

Blue State Coffee’s other shop is located on Wall Street, and there are also two locations in Providence, R.I.

After opening the coffee joint in its current location back in January 2001, owner Tracy Jackson said, she decided to give up her business to Blue State Coffee in order to spend more time with her daughters given the toll her work has taken on her family. She will, however, help out with the changeover throughout May. She said she does not expect to open a new shop in the near future, but added: “Who knows? I might get bored.” In that case, she said, she might start a new business closer to her home in Clinton, Conn.

Jackson described the change as “bittersweet.”

“I’m not corporate. I loved doing what I did,” she said. “I just love making people happy.”

Although the new adjustment will not result in any layoffs, employees interviewed said the transition brings both excitement and anxiety.

Darice Grass, general manager for The Publick Cup, said some of the employees’ worries include dealing with a new menu and a different software used for sales.

“As much as change is hard, there’s always some good that comes with it,” she added.

But the news of Blue State Coffee’s arrival “crushed” Danielle Tomson ’12, who said she was a daily customer at The Publick Cup. Tomson said employees consoled her with a free coffee mug.

“If anything, I will miss the warmth of the orange walls,” she said. “I just don’t want political coffee,” she added, referring to Blue State Coffee’s publicized support for progressive and liberal causes.

Maria Catrickes GRD ’13 said she wrote about 230 pages worth of final papers at the same table at The Publick Cup last year. She said she does not think Blue State Coffee is as cozy or as economical.

“If they keep the product and the furniture as it is, I may return,” Catrickes said. “If it changes, I am not going to come.”

The Publick Cup was formerly called Koffee Too?, but owners changed its name in early 2008. The store will close at 9 p.m. Friday, earlier than its usual midnight closing time, due to the remodeling that will start this weekend.

Correction: May 4, 2010

An earlier version of this article misspelled the first name of Publick Cup owner Tracy Jackson.

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