Hey all-
My wife and i opened a coffeehouse/roaster in a little college town in NY. Our only competition was a coffee house that was well established, but was very low quality. 7 second extractions, permanently cook-on milk on the stream wands, etc.When we opened we heard a lot of positive feedback,and still do. Obviously I'm biased, but we really do have the best coffee in town.
Our spot is very small. VERY. It's in an alright location, and we have the best landlord in town. They have worked with us from day 1, letting us do anything we want to the place, and even dropping the rent to help us when we first opened. (they did this on their own).
The other place has the best place in town and is for sale. The guy is motivate to sell, but I wouldn't be able to relocate my roaster. I would like to grab that place, move the coffee house there, but keep the roasting operation at our current locale. I would keep a coffee brewer at the roastery, but take the espresso machine.
So: Pros for place 1:
already there, great landlord, already established customer base, lower rent
Cons: not best location, limited space for customers/business expansion
Pros for #2
better location, years of established customer base, closer to downtown and where the college kids are, bigger store
cons: higher rent, can't have the roaster there, needs redecorating
What do  you all think? What should I be thinking about, looking into, considering? I don't have the numbers for the other business yet, but before I make any decisions, I will.
Thanks
B.

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What is preventing you from moving the roaster? Logistics??
Yeah, and the new landlord.
If staffing permits, you could keep both shops going.

A lot of roasters are operating an espresso bar and coffee brewing.
You could even use it as a front to increase education/awareness by removing all flavored syrups and sugars and emphasizing manual pour-over methods.

Think big and plan well.
Why is the new landloard down on locating the roaster in the new building.
Cost to him? Costs in general? How big is your roaster? Are you required to have an afterburner in your local?
Joe

Bill Nostrom said:
Yeah, and the new landlord.
See if you can find data on the revenue of the current shop to help guide you. Perhaps friendly conversation with their roaster or paper supplier or vendors will help glean insight into their volume and their business. Even something as odd as how much trash they generate daily can help you understand their revenue better.

But if the location is that good and the owner is truly motivated, then go for it. Have him provide you with filed copies of his company's tax filings - both quarterly sales and federal. Those should be the numbers you base the deal.

Just remember, when you move to multiple locations, it multiplies the headaches. If the revenue is good at your current location, do you really want to move the espresso machine and lose that revenue stream? See if you can secure financing or an equipment lease deal to help you grow. Talk to your banker. Let your banker know what's going on with your business. Keep him in the loop and get to know him.
Thanks for all of the input.
I'm going to try to meet with the owner on Saturday. I'll let everyone know what we wind up doing.
Jay,
That is so funny. I mean your mention of how much trash is generated. I'm just waking up and getting my head on straight on my day off. ( yaa, right, how many new small business owners get a day off? )
I looked down at the trash can and remembered that one survey I read a long time ago mentioned that one way to measure what is going on with a particular business/income revenue etc. was to weigh the daily trash output and come up with a weekly/monthly average and then graph it.
Then I logged on to BX and read your post. I'm paying very close attention to this thread. We are investing in some major changes like Bill is considering and I imagine many other small coffee shops right now.
You bet I will stay tuned...
Joseph
--
Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform.

Jay Caragay said:
See if you can find data on the revenue of the current shop to help guide you. Perhaps friendly conversation with their roaster or paper supplier or vendors will help glean insight into their volume and their business. Even something as odd as how much trash they generate daily can help you understand their revenue better.

But if the location is that good and the owner is truly motivated, then go for it. Have him provide you with filed copies of his company's tax filings - both quarterly sales and federal. Those should be the numbers you base the deal.

Just remember, when you move to multiple locations, it multiplies the headaches. If the revenue is good at your current location, do you really want to move the espresso machine and lose that revenue stream? See if you can secure financing or an equipment lease deal to help you grow. Talk to your banker. Let your banker know what's going on with your business. Keep him in the loop and get to know him.
yeah... i don't think that moving your espresso machine out of your current location would go over very well with your regulars. if your considering a business loan to get your second location see if you can tie the cost of a new machine into it.
Jay Caragay said:
See if you can find data on the revenue of the current shop to help guide you. Perhaps friendly conversation with their roaster or paper supplier or vendors will help glean insight into their volume and their business. Even something as odd as how much trash they generate daily can help you understand their revenue better.

But if the location is that good and the owner is truly motivated, then go for it. Have him provide you with filed copies of his company's tax filings - both quarterly sales and federal. Those should be the numbers you base the deal.

Just remember, when you move to multiple locations, it multiplies the headaches. If the revenue is good at your current location, do you really want to move the espresso machine and lose that revenue stream? See if you can secure financing or an equipment lease deal to help you grow. Talk to your banker. Let your banker know what's going on with your business. Keep him in the loop and get to know him.
If you can afford the higher turnover location you have to seriously consider it.

Re existing location, keep the machine there, but look at turning the smaller shop into a 'cellar door' type experience, where people can drop in, and taste your different blends or single origins which you roast made on different types of equipment (consider selling things like plungers, pour overs etc), or maybe consider opening it as a 'home barista school' where people can be shown how coffee is roasted, and then you educate them from bean to cup, and give them opportunity to learn how to steam/pour milk etc.

Its no good having two 'identical' businesses in close proximity, but you have a unique opportunity here to have the space, and be seen to be an expert in coffee in your community.

Good luck with your venture...
B.R.
Spoken way better than my professional branding coach that I paid big bucks to hear say it.
Thanks for the birds eye view of any little or big shop in anytown USA.
Joe

B. R. Lehman said:
I am speaking not as an expert so that makes my advice much more valuable.
Ask yourself, what would make you come into your shop, besides the fact it is yours. Forget who you are. Be objective and tough on yourself.
While your wife is making coffee or the other way around, take a walk on campus, through town, and greet people tell them about you and your store. Tell them about coffee. Let who you are sell your business and location. If you find that hard to do go back to what you did before. Opening a business is more than a good product - it's being a good person. As to location, do you want sales or customers? Good customers will swim an ocean for your coffee. I live in a city where you can't sling a dead cat through it without hitting a coffee shop, but I drive by ten of them(coffee shops not dead cats) to get to the one I want. You can stick it in the middle of a cow pasture, but it takes time. Think of it as building a community.
Take care & unprofessionally yours,
B. R. Lehman
I agree that I want to build community. One of our core values is to become a "third place", and that's happening. This is what I envision happening.
Keep the original location and make the focus centered on the roasting aspect. I would still serve coffee there, but with different ways of brewing: drip, cold-brew, drip-over, french press, ibrek etc. I would do coffee cuppings and coffee seminars, and it would be a center for home roasting enthusiasts. There is a sizable number of them in the local area.
Location #2 would be the college crowd (it already is). There I would have the espresso drinks, sandwiches, wraps, etc.
There are a few reasons why I want the second place: obviously I want to expand my business. I do want to promote good coffee- and i should say that they do buy good coffee, they just don't care about preparing it right. But I also want to protect my turf. If someone comes in who knows what they are doing, they would have a tremendous advantage over me- good coffee and location. Hey, it's still a business, and I still have to make a buck.
As I do more research, I'll continue updating you all. Thanks again.
Bill,
In case I missed something here, are you the company roaster?
JR

Bill Nostrom said:
I agree that I want to build community. One of our core values is to become a "third place", and that's happening. This is what I envision happening.
Keep the original location and make the focus centered on the roasting aspect. I would still serve coffee there, but with different ways of brewing: drip, cold-brew, drip-over, french press, ibrek etc. I would do coffee cuppings and coffee seminars, and it would be a center for home roasting enthusiasts. There is a sizable number of them in the local area.
Location #2 would be the college crowd (it already is). There I would have the espresso drinks, sandwiches, wraps, etc.
There are a few reasons why I want the second place: obviously I want to expand my business. I do want to promote good coffee- and i should say that they do buy good coffee, they just don't care about preparing it right. But I also want to protect my turf. If someone comes in who knows what they are doing, they would have a tremendous advantage over me- good coffee and location. Hey, it's still a business, and I still have to make a buck.
As I do more research, I'll continue updating you all. Thanks again.

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