If you haven’t met Miracle Clark-Yoder, you haven’t met the funny, dynamic, female side of Charlotte’s Not Just Coffee empire, which has spread since 2011 from a location at 7th Street Public Market, to Atherton Mill, to Packard Place and, soon, to Dilworth Crossing and a shared space with Tabor and SOCO Gallery on Providence Road.
She is the wife of Not Just Coffee co-owner James Yoder, she is the mother of three children (ages 21, 13 and 10), she is the drinker of bright green iced almond matcha, she is heavy on the back end of the business, and her Instagram handle is @mrsnotjustcoffee. Oh, and if she runs out of gas on a road trip because she’s too busy discussing religion and politics with her mother, by god, she will walk to the nearest exit and pick up a gas can.
Here are six facts to know about Mrs. Not Just Coffee:
(1) She got her name from a midwife.
Her parents, part of the hippie generation, left their jobs and went down to Mexico as part nomads, part humanitarians. The midwife who delivered Miracle at their home in Mexico for $20 named her Miracle of the Dawn, or “Milagro de la Alba.” She weighed 11 pounds and her mother had gestational diabetes, so the midwife said the complication-free birth was a miracle.
(2) She has traveled and lived around the world.
Miracle met James in Beaufort, S.C., when she was about 25 and he was 20. They were separately on camping trips and she was a single mom, with her child Destiny. They got to talking around a campfire one night, and their relationship evolved from there. They have since lived together in the U.S., Ghana, Romania and Italy doing various nonprofit work and other jobs.
Now, Miracle, 42, said, “Charlotte is home to me. It’s the place I’ve lived the longest, all my life, and that’s only been eight years.”
(3) She has a degree in occupational therapy.
Miracle went to school around Boston and worked in the medical field when she first got to Charlotte in 2009.
“James actually worked another job too and Not Just Coffee was more of a passion project,” she said.
(4) Before Not Just Coffee, Miracle had her own coffee ritual.
“In Romania, I sort of started falling in love with my own ritual of coffee because life was very, very simple there,” said Miracle, who by then was a mother of two.
They didn’t have a coffee maker in their apartment, so she would boil her water on the stove, add the coffee, let the grounds float to the bottom.
“It was good enough for me and it was my thing that I started doing for myself before my youngest got up,” she said. “Being a mom is hard and you have to find those small moments that are like ‘you’ moments.”
(5) She secretly likes running the “reg.”
The register at the coffee counter, that is. Miracle and James chose to live and work in Charlotte in 2009, since they have family in the Carolinas and Charlotte was growing. They opened Not Just Coffee in 2011.
While she has taken classes with Counter Culture so she can be knowledgeable about the process, you won’t see Miracle slinging coffee. But she will work the register if one of the locations is short on workers.
“I like those times, secretly, because I get to interact with customers,” she said.
(6) She is considered the backbone of Not Just Coffee
About three years ago she got deeper into the business behind the scenes with human resources and accounting tasks. When they opened the Packard Place location of Not Just Coffee, she left her occupational therapy work to focus fully on the back end of the business, while James continues to operate more as the “face.”
But they make decisions together and now have the opportunity to decide what’s next. Do they go the roasting route with coffee, or do they continue to focus on opening cafes?
“This is working,” Miracle said. “So where do we want to take it?”
Photo: Destiny Clark