It happened rather quietly. There was almost no fanfare. Just a bunch of coffee made, latte’s steamed, and customers served. Somewhere in the usual day to day operations that have become our cozy yet caffeinated part of the world, The Bard’s Coffee passed its six-month mark. During that time something else happened: we grew up.
Getting to Know You…
In the lifecycle of a business, 6 months makes us barely a newborn. Yet, in that timeframe, we have already developed regulars…supporters and patrons who come to us on a regular basis to get exactly what they want.
There is a retired lady who barely tips the yardstick at 5 feet who comes in every Saturday to read the Perrysburg Messenger Journal, drink a cup of hot black coffee…and see
Danny. Recently Danny had a Saturday off and she was very concerned. Fortunately, Danny was back behind the barista bar the following week and Saturdays returned to a comfortable normal.
Every weekday morning a gentleman who drives a big white truck pulls up to our storefront for a red-eye; a shot of espresso in a 12 oz cup of Ride or Die coffee to go. If he’s got the time he will chat a bit. The first time he didn’t show up we grilled him the next day, much to his chagrin. “What am I, a witness at a deposition?” Our morning barista replied, “Please answer the question, Sir…” He laughed and knew that he was missed.
One customer has the following order: 12 oz vanilla latte, extra hot, skim, single shot (rather than double pull), one small pump of cane syrup, cinnamon on top in a to-go cup (because it stays hotter). She visits us almost daily. What is not to love about that order? If there is one place you ought to be able to get what you want it is at a coffee shop.
This list goes on and on. One patron was complaining that she loved coffee houses but didn’t really like coffee. We introduced her to an iced chai latte. We told her that if she didn’t like it we would make something else. She sucked that chai latte down in about 5 minutes and remarked, “Well, those are addictive”. Yes, they are…
In just 6 months we have more than customers. We have friends.
Expanding Our Operations
If you have regulars the term “start-up” no longer applies. I am sure I read that somewhere.
However, once you are out of that startup frenzy you have to start doing other things to grow your operation. In our case, we have expanded our menu to include some light lunch selections. We have dropped some items and added others. Like in poker, just because you have jacks or better to open doesn’t mean that you are going to win the hand. You have to make adjustments.
We are also thrilled to have participated in some great downtown events, including the Perrysburg Farmers Market, Harrison Rally Day and OctoBooFest. All were amazing successes for us and enjoyable community events. We worked hard and loved every minute of it.
Since our opening, we have hosted lunch and learns, political candidate meet and greets, networking events, and small group meetings. One of the best benefits of hosting these groups is that we learn so much. Becoming a community nexus is one of the best side benefits of being a coffee house.
As we speed toward the holidays and firmly enter our next six months we have lots of plans for the future. We have recently brought in Grounds for Thought coffee as part of our Daily Drip schedule. We have entered into relationships with Walt Churchill’s Market, Monnette’s, and Sitto’s Bakery, to name a few.
We are looking forward to participating in the Maumee Chamber of Commerce B2B expo, introducing us to the wider small business community. We now provide coffee service to go for 3 different weekly business meetings and are finalizing the details of adding 2 more weekly meetings. This allows us to develop long term business relationships that help ensure that our first 6 months of successes are both sustainable and expandable.
We recently provided coffee service for Proclaim FM during their week-long fundraiser. They are regular customers and asked if we could make sure they stayed fueled for the long broadcast days. This is one of our favorite things to do for our regulars. What we didn’t expect was the profuse and profound coverage we received on that radio station.
Bottom line? We are well on our way to fulfilling those three words that adorn our business cards: meetings*stories*community.
Thank you for a great opening!