Coffee shop caters to south-side caffeine needs

The commute to campus from southwest Brookings just got a little easier.

Upstream Coffee opened in late April on South Main Avenue after owner Matt Naughton realized there were no places to stop for coffee between where he lived, at the south end of Brookings, and where he worked downtown.

Naughton takes pride in the fact his business is run “as local as possible.” The coffee served is Westbound Coffee, which is roasted in Brookings, and baked goods are brought in from Pink Lady Bakery in Aurora.

Naughton’s wife Lindsay suggested the name Upstream Coffee. Naughton has been a fisherman his whole life, so the fishing theme decorating the walls and on the sign outside came “naturally.”

Three rooms in the shop are furnished with chairs and tables to accommodate for study groups, meetings or other groups, free of charge.

“We actually had a girl all summer sitting in one of those rooms writing her thesis,” Naughton said.

Naughton said lights aren’t required in the rooms because there are so many large windows on the building to let in natural lighting.

“I love the atmosphere and I like the rooms where you can still be part of it, but you’re kind of closed off and can have the door open or closed,” said customer Joan Carter. 

Business at Upstream Coffee has stayed consistent through the summer, according to Naughton.

“We’ve just been getting ourselves known, and that takes a lot in this town,” Naughton said. He expects the return of students to increase business.

Members of the Brookings Moms Next club meet there, and Patricia Crinion said she was “dazzled” by the shop. Shirley Clayson and Stephanie Caron, also with Moms Next, said they appreciated the location. Caron lives in Volga and said the shop is convenient for her to reach when she comes to Brookings.

Upstream Coffee’s weekly Political Mondays attracts customers to the shop. Every Monday at 11 a.m., a guest will come for a discussion. Visitors have included the Brookings County Sheriff’s Department, Mayor Keith Corbett and South Dakota State University President Barry Dunn.

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The building features a drive-thru as well. A friend of Naughton’s built the drive- 

thru window in his garage, which helped Naughton keep his business project local. 

“It works most of the time,” Naughton said. “It’s a homegrown kind of thing.”

The shop’s mascot, Cuppington, is a coffee to-go cup with a face drawn on it. It helps advertise the shop by appearing in photos on Facebook and Instagram.

Naughton said one of his customers’ favorite orders is the caramel macchiato. He also described his blended coffee as “smooth and creamy.” However, Naughton himself favors the white mocha or a vanilla latte. 

Upstream Coffee is open 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, although those hours may soon expand to 9 p.m. to accommodate students and night owls.