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Meet the graphic design alumna behind Miracle Mile’s newest hangout spot, Cuppajo Coffee

When Monica Odeh graduated with her BFA in graphic design from University of the Pacific in 2019, she might not have believed you if you told her that just three years later, she’d be running her own business, even less so a coffee company.  

“I never thought about owning a coffee shop. I didn’t know anything about coffee,” she said. “But I know about branding and marketing.”  

The new coffee bar, Cuppajo Coffee, is quickly becoming a community favorite because of its tasty drinks and friendly atmosphere. The revamped space, originally Color Me Coffee, is tucked inside Tocco Divino Hair Salon on the Miracle Mile. It’s within walking distance from Pacific’s Stockton Campus.  

Odeh also works with clients full-time at the Stockton branding agency Revamp Signs, so Cuppajo is affirming her belief in what good design can mean for a business.  

“My favorite thing about having the coffee shop is having a living, breathing model of what I do in my day-to-day work,” said Odeh. “Having a business that I’ve created this branding scheme for that I can show my clients and have proof in the pudding that what I’m doing can work and bring their visions to life as well.”  

Graphic design opportunity

Odeh first heard about Tocco Divino’s coffee bar at a weekly meeting for local business professionals. The owner of the salon, Melissa Sherwood, announced she was selling the shop and asked if anyone was interested. Odeh presented the opportunity to her boss at Revamp Signs, Raziel Pelaez, and the pair decided to go into business together.  

“I took that as an opportunity to present to my boss because we had already been searching for a new idea of how we could implement our business and advertise our services other than doing work for clients,” said Odeh. “And we just fell in love with the space. Being here on the Miracle Mile was just a super cool opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.” 

Odeh has been visiting the Mile since she was a student at Pacific. She says locating her business on the iconic Pacific Avenue block is too good to be true.  

“The Miracle Mile is a very supportive community. The local business owners here have really created a space for the community to come and support small businesses,” she explained. “So, getting to be a part of that and getting to be close to the college now are things that really sold me on that location.” 

Pacific student experiences

Odeh credits Pacific not only for training her in graphic design but giving her the opportunity to apply her skills to real world experiences. As an ASuop graphic designer, she worked with clients. She also curated gallery exhibitions through the art department. She encourages Pacific students to seek out opportunities available to them and make strong relationships on campus.  

“I’ve found a very family-like community at Pacific, especially within my art department,” said Odeh. “So, I would say to take advantage of it and to make sure you’re immersing yourself into the campus as much as possible. It’s small, but it’s big in a lot of ways.”

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