This is day 2 of my 31 days with coffee shop stories. Welcome.
It was 2006 and I got my first job in a multinational company. It didn’t take me too long to realize that a 9 to 5 job was not my style. We were also putting the basis of our translation agency and was working during the nights, like crazy, but I loved it more than going to an office.
I was in front of my computer. I think it was summer or so, the window was open and I could hear the street. And I was browsing the internet and I messaged my friend back then, now my partner in life and business. I told him: I want to open a coffee shop. And there it was, out in the open. Put into words.
Fast forward one year. It was 2007 and we were at the seaside. Feet in the sand, a cocktail at our side, laptops in front of us. I was on holiday from my daytime job, but we were hard at work for the translations agency. It was fun. It’s a great thing to be able to make your own working hours, take your office with you, be your own boss. We could just smell the freedom. We came back to the coffee shop idea. I knew some things about how the market was. Things were looking good for a new business with a personal touch.
Back in town, I found a barista course and learned what makes a good cappuccino. Seemed like a good place to start, for a future coffee shop owner. And then it was research time.
I bought a nice notebook (I think there were actually two notebooks) and I started scribbling ideas. I always had it with me, wherever we went. We also had a list of places in town that we visited. For each, there was a questionnaire we had to fill in. How is the bathroom? How is the service? Prices? Menu? Furniture? Atmosphere? Is there a dessert I might want to reproduce? A waiter I would like to hire? Happy hour? How is the cappuccino? Do’s and don’t’s. And I bought tons of books from Amazon, cooking books, decor books, and, of course, the Idiot’s guide to running a coffee shop.
It was crazy fun. We were talking about curtains, menu, coffee, employees, location, money. Money. Another month of research on credit options and a lot of convincing with my aunt, who decided to support us by agreeing to mortgage her house for a loan and we doubled that with our savings and more money from the translations agency.
And then it was almost end of the year 2007 and we had to find a location. Some days off from work and walking around the nice parts of the city, finding that perfect place: a house with a garden, close to the center of the city, but hidden from its noise and rush. With some trees or plants and large windows to have the sun in during the day. It wasn’t easy at all. And we were a bit picky. In the end, we did it. True, we had to go with smaller windows, but otherwise, it was exactly what we had imagined. We had almost refused the location, but on a second visit and a closer listen to our hearts, we understood it was exactly what we needed for our concept.
The concept, well, this is another story and I will keep it for tomorrow. Hope you’ll join me then.