It appears to be a perfect match — a small city wants to enhance its sense of community, and a couple of local entrepreneur-brothers want to build a business where people come together.
The Drip Drop Coffee Shop held its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony last week in Richland to a packed house of well-wishers and supporters. The mayor, aldermen and a representative of every major city department were there as well as numerous local community and economic development organizations.
At first glance, it seemed a little much. The Drip Drop menu includes the usual fare — coffee, lattes, expresso, frappes, smoothies. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it also offers hot breakfast dishes, paninis, wraps, sandwiches, pastries/desserts and beignets (Fridays and Saturdays). All of that is fine, but not unique.
There is also little to note about the cafe’s space. Drip Drop occupies a small suite in a neat yet nondescript strip mall located on U.S. Highway 49.
However, it is not the menu nor the ambiance that has created all the buzz in Richland, a small city in Rankin County of approximately 7,000 residents. It is the mission and vision of the Drip Drop’s owners, brothers Chris and Darron Hinton, that has the community excited — a small coffee shop that offers not only a place where locals can meet, but also a place where local artists and musicians can find an audience.
“We wanted to create a place where the community can come together — enjoy some coffee or a beignet, watch some news or sports, talk,” said Chris Hinton. “We also wanted to create a place that supported local artists and musicians. That’s why we opened the Drip Drop Coffee Shop.”
The Hinton brothers, both raised in the nearby Hinds County community of Byram, also seem a perfect match for the new enterprise. Chris’ background is in job creation and business recruitment and growth, most recently serving on the staff of Natchez Inc., the lead economic and community development organization for the city of Natchez and Adams County.
“Chris, to me, is a marketing guru,” Darron said.
Darron, conversely, has spent more than a decade in the bar industry.
“Drip Drop is Darron’s brainchild,” Chris said.
Indeed, the concept came to Darron in the night.
“I had this dream that I was in this neat coffee shop having a great cup of coffee,” Darron remembered. “In my dream, I looked out the window and saw a sign that read ‘Drip Drop Coffee Shop.’ The next day I told Chris we needed to do a search for that name. We were surprised to find that there was not a single Drip Drop Coffee Shop registered in the nation.”
With a unique name in hand, the Hintons developed their concept of a coffee shop like no other in the area, one that not only offered live music, but also a place for local artists to display and sell their works, even offer free art classes to patrons.
Their new venture got off to a fanfare-filled start. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony the morning of May 15, a band performed a two-hour set outside the Drip Drop that evening, later joined by a surprise DJ. The band them moved inside and gave an all-acoustic concert for patrons.
Adorning the walls is work by local artist Roger Leonard Long featuring sketches and paintings of musicians such as Elvis Presley, B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix and other prominent figures. The Hintons plan on swapping out the art periodically, giving patrons new pieces to enjoy and/or buy, and Darron said Drip Drop would start offering art classes beginning next month.
Drip Drop also has landed a house musician, Katie Boyer, but other musicians will be brought in to give customers something new to hear.
“It is the first place in Richland ever, as far as I know, to offer live music and art from local people,” said Richland Alderman Clay Burns. He added that Drip Drop further enhances to the city’s efforts to create a stronger sense of community in the Richland area.
The Hintons have had little time to revel in their grand opening success. This Saturday, Drip Drop will name the winner of a unique selfie/Instagram competition. Patrons will select the best entries, and the winners will receive free merchandise such as a Drip Drop coffee mug, and t-shirt among other items.
As soon as that competition is over, Drip Drop will kick off a talent contest.
Darron said other communities have approached him and his brother about bring their Drip Drop concept there. He said they would explore these opportunities, but they have no plans yet to open another venue elsewhere.
“Chris and I both just love coffee, and we love creativity,” Darron said. “We’re excited about what the future holds.”
For more on the Drip Drop Coffee Shop, visit www.dripdropcs.com.
(NOTE: Google Maps shows Drip Drop Coffee Shop on Old Highway 49. The actual address is 1055 U.S. Highway 49, Suite D, Richland, MS 39218.)