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Two people who help make this a wonderful place | Kingston Girl
By Stacey Goodrich
With some wonderful coffee shops in our little town, we are blessed with some great options, but if you haven’t made the time to go to Cuppa Bella recently, you are sadly missing out.
The new owners — husband and wife team Marcus and Tonya Croman — have given it a new look, all the way down to the home cooking of the yummy and wonderful menu items.
“Cuppa Bella was started by Mark and Karen Scholl in 1998 and the opportunity to purchase the business from them presented itself to us (by accident) last year.” Marcus said.
I go to Cuppa Bella a few times a week for their homemade scones. They are simply sinful and so perfect. Two of my favorite are the almond cherry and the cheddar, basil and bacon scones; they really are to die for. In fact, that is my husband Chris’s new go-to when he wants to make me happy or cheer me up; instead of flowers, he goes right to Cuppa Bella. All I have to say is, smart man.
With exception of just a few short years that Marcus lived in the TriCities, he and Tonya have lived in the area their entire lives. Marcus grew up in Kingston — in the house, he proudly boasts, that his mom still lives in, across the street from Wolfle Elementary School. Marcus said Tonya grew up in Poulsbo on Finn Hill in the same house that her parents live in.
Marcus and Tonya’s family history is a few generations deep. Marcus ties to the area started when his aunt and uncle moved to Bainbridge Island in the late 1950s. In 1967, his mom moved here from Pennsylvania after nursing school; Marcus’s father was in the Navy at the time and moved to the area after he was discharged. In the mid-1970s, Marcus’s grandmother and grandfather moved here after she retired from teaching.
Tonya’s family has been in the area since the early 1940s. She and Marcus say this is their forever home and do not plan on leaving.
“Kingston is a true small town. You get the sense that folks watch each other’s backs, they take care of their fellow citizens, they take care of their own town,” Marcus said.
“The volunteers in the Kingston area that come out for town cleanups, that put up the flower baskets, that put together the Fourth of July (celebration) are what makes this area so great.”
The only thing that they would like to see changed is seeing more cooperation and communication between the various organizations in our area so that everyone is working toward the same goal.
Knowing that each will have their own set of tasks to get there, working together instead of apart would make it so much easier for the public to understand.
Tonya and Marcus started something like this with the Kingston Food Bank, Kingston Rescue Mission, Kiwanis Club, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, Rotary Club, ShareNet Food Bank and Wolfle Elementary School for the “Feed the Kids” program this past summer. Communication and cooperation between the various organizations helped keep everyone on the same page.
At times, volunteer efforts can be scattered, creating a situation where each group is fighting for donations and volunteers. By joining together and targeting one issue at a time, we can resolve an issue as a group before moving on to another. Great things could happen in our town; Kingston is the perfect place to do it.
Before they bought Cuppa Bella, Tonya had operated a daycare business out of their home for several years and Marcus commuted to Seattle to an IT job. Marcus had been looking for a way out of his commute for several years as he was losing time with Tonya and their four children — time that he and Tonya knew they would never get back. Things fell into place in September 2010 when they bought Cuppa Bella.
They would like to have a second, and possibly a third, location within the next five years. But it’s a challenging business: Marcus gets up at 2 a.m. to do all the baking from scratch, and Tonya comes in at noon and closes at 8 p.m.
“We’re not sure how additional locations will pan out for us in being able to maintain our high level of standards, but we’re not reinventing the wheel so we’ll just have to look at how other successful entrepreneurs have done it,” Marcus said.
Marcus and Tonya are a great part of what makes our community in Kingston so wonderful. I love when I get to learn more about locals in our area that make it so wonderful to live here. I hope to see you in Cuppa Bella sometime soon. I will be there with my bag of scones!