Corporate Member Spotlight: Mural City Coffee Company

WMA is generously supported in part by the regional business community through its corporate member program. We sat down with Zach Swan of Mural City Coffee Company last month to talk about their company’s culture and priorities. Mural City Coffee Company is family owned and operated (Darrin and Gina Swan) and is a Supporter level corporate member.

Mural City Coffee Company’s Zach Swan

WMA: Zach, tell us a little bit about what you do at Mural City Coffee Company and how the space came to be a popular spot in downtown Dothan.

Zach: I do a little bit of everything, from working the back end, to roasting coffee and being a barista, to social media and graphic design. As a family-owned and operated business, we all helped to make it come together, especially with renovations before we opened.

The building itself really dictated the design and feel of the space. When we first started renovating, much of the building was covered in 100 years of dirt and grime. We were determined to bring the building back to its original glory; after giving the building a deep clean, sanding, soda blasting, and chiseling off of dingy stucco we focused on using our skills to reuse and repurpose materials that made the building’s original bones shine. People appreciate those small details.

Interesting fact: the wood used to construct the public sculpture ‘Semiotic Compass’ was salvaged from the Carmichael Building during Mural City’s site renovations

WMA: What matters most to you at MCCC? Is there anything you’d like to share about your company culture?

Zach: We really take pride in being a family business, and there’s an inherent drive toward perfection in what we make and do. We want everything we do to give the impression that we care. We’re ‘third wave’ coffee, which is different from ‘second wave’ in that it’s not a get-in, get-out transactional experience. We want you to stay and enjoy what we make by hand. That’s another thing that we’re proud of — being able to offer a specialty, superior product at an accessible price.

WMA: Mural City Coffee Company is a close downtown neighbor to the museum. What do you connect with at WMA? 

Zach: I see and really like what the museum is doing with kids. It seems like there’s always something, classes or camps or tours, that help and teach them to become culture creators, not just culture consumers. I think it’s important for those of young ages to be able to make something genuine and true, and not just get swept up in the flood of content that’s available to them.

WMA: We always like to ask our corporate members, ‘What do you want to see for the future of the Wiregrass?’ So, what’s on the horizon for you, and for Mural City Coffee Company?

Zach:  Personally, I would like to see a local future that shifts to meet the needs of normal people and an overall increased quality of life. What I mean by that is that we should consider those who have lower incomes and make sure that our city is friendly toward those who have to walk and don’t have the option of driving. I’d like to see simple things, like grocery shopping, become easier for those who walk miles to get what they need.

When it comes to Mural City Coffee Company, we want to make sure that we’re working to better our community whenever possible, whether that be providing a space for local art to be displayed or just a place to get away from home. We know that everyone who comes in may not buy a product, but they are welcome to relax a while on a couch or cozy chair, and are always welcome to use our free take-one-leave-one library. We want to make education more accessible to everyone, so we made sure to have SparkNotes, good internet, dictionaries, a printer, and various study books.

We also know that while we can help our low-income residents, there’s an influx of medical professionals with ACOM, and the various hospitals and clinics, that will bring more long-term demand for higher end entertainment and dining. I saw similar redevelopment phases happen in Avondale, near Birmingham, but the city is so large that the demand drove near instantaneous redevelopment that may have negatively impacted some economic groups. However, we hope that Mural City Coffee Company can be part of a culture that attracts professionals who help the city grow, while simultaneously keeping the well-being of lower-income residents in mind.

To learn more about how your company can support WMA’s mission, contact Melissa Rea at 334-794-3871 or mrea@wiregrassmuseum.org.

Youth Art Education Policy

Outside of tours, family days, and open house events, individuals who are not enrolled in a class are not allowed in WMA classrooms except by written permission of the Executive Director. Parents may not join children in the classroom during instruction times in order to ensure an atmosphere conductive to creativity. It is important to limit the number of adults to keep the focus on the kids, their learning, and to accommodate limited seating in the studio. Parents are welcome to stay in the museum during class but must remain outside of the classroom during instruction time.

Museum educators are experienced in creating positive learning environments for all ages and are required to go through a background check to ensure the safety of our students. Parents and guardians are encouraged to visit the studio at the end of class to see what their child has created. All docents and volunteers working with children are also required to go through background checks.

Thank you for understanding our policy and priority on the safety and well-being of participating students.

Throughout the year, WMA will host “Meet the Educator” days where parents and their children can come to the classroom to meet the instructor before beginning classes and camps. 2019’s schedule is as follows: January 30 from 4pm-6pm, May 29 from 4pm-6pm, and August 28 from 4pm-6pm.

Refund Policy

The Wiregrass Museum of Art may cancel any class with insufficient enrollment; students will be notified and given a full refund. If a student withdraws at least 1 week before the class begins, he/she will be refunded for the full cost of the class. If a student withdraws 24 hours before the class begins, he/she will be refunded for half the cost of the class. There are no refunds after the start date of class, and membership fees are nonrefundable. Students are not enrolled until complete payment is received.