Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thoughts about SB closing

When we opened 11 years ago September, we were the only coffee shop in Southeast Durham.  It's crazy to think about how different this area was at that time....loads of huge mall....about 3 less strip get the idea.  The SoDu community was pretty happy we were giving them a coffeeshop, and we were happy to do it (selfishly we were really happy just to be able to drink a decent cup of coffee ourselves). 

Now.....years later.....there are 4 Starbucks....1 Dunkin Donuts.....and at least 3 local cafe/coffee shops that have come and gone.  This is all within a mile of us! 

6 months after we opened, Starbucks opened its first location right across the street from us and a lot of our customers were angry and nervous that we would not survive.  That first month they opened we were inundated with the never ending question "Are you guys scared you will go out of business?".  Each time we answered the standard: "no...not so much".  Most of the time this sufficed...the remaining times we had to listen to all the reasons we should be nervous and all the reasons why said customer felt awful for us.  It really was coming from a good place, but it was hard to hear a list of reasons why someone might think your business will tank....and even harder that people didn't have more faith in our survival.

Our thought was, still is, and always will be: 

1) Never look at the guy(gal) next to you to measure your success
2) Keep focused on your vision and do not let people or other companies scare you into changing it
3) Keep on the pulse of your industry and be flexible and progressive while staying true to what made people love you
4) No matter how great everyone says you are or how many awards you receive, the minute you stop striving to be the best, you suck
5) Your customers are the heartbeat of your business......always take care of your heart!

So now, all these years later, the place across the street is closing its doors for good this Sunday.  And while you may think we are doing cartwheels in the back room...a part of us will  always ache at the closing of a business.  It is hard to explain, but it doesn't necessarily feel good to rejoice in someone elses downfall...major chain store or not.

With all of that said, we were surprised, but not so much so about the closing.  We had heard about a year ago from a pretty reliable source that the SB across the street was one of their smallest volume stores in the area.  We joked at the time that we probably played a big part in that and it's hard to compete with our delicious bean!  Honestly though, we don't care to speculate about the closing or why.

 Our hope going forward is that we can turn some people on to our product.  Do we think we will get everyone?  NO...not even close.  We will get a small amount of people that may have heard we were across the street but never bothered to try us....who now try us because they do not want to change their morning routine drastically so they just come across the street...and then like our atmosphere/product so they stay.  The rest of the people who know that we are here and never tried us will most likely do McDonalds or Dunkin, because they just like Chain Store coffee and the atmosphere that caters to that...which is totally fine, we are not trying to fit square pegs into round holes...people should go where they are comfortable so there is no friction. 

Then there are the people who have no idea we are even here. We have never had visibility from the road (we love our strip with all the trees..but it definitely lets NO ONE know we are here) and you can see the Starbucks loud and clear.  Again, some of them won't care because they like a different genre....but we are most excited about the people who had no idea we are here...thought they were stuck with a certain coffee and then now that said coffee is gone they are forced to investigate other options...find us... and feel blessed to find the perfect coffee shop for them.

And lastly, if you happen to hear your moaning about their go-to coffee shop closing, tell them to drink some bean!

You might change their life as they know it :)

1 comment:

  1. I am definitely thrilled to have found your business. I moved to the area nearly 2 years ago, but perhaps because of the row of trees you mention, I never knew you were back there. Recently I was googling looking for a local coffee shop because I needed a public place to meet a potential collaborator for a project at work and read great reviews of your business. Now I come in a couple times a week! I particularly love the art on the walls, the different size tables, and the opportunity to do some laptop work in a welcoming atmosphere. Thank you!