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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Quad Cities

    Coffeehouse in a specialty store

    Hey All! I'm a newbie, how exciting! Anyway, I'm looking to start a coffeehouse in a small little 300 square foot room in a quaint specialty store in a home built in the mid to late 1800's! Does that sound cool or what? I know the space is small, but it will probably be able to seat 12-15 people inside, plus people can roam thru the 3-level home of specialty items or sit out on the wrap around porch that overlooks the Mississippi, or on many other outdoor seating arrangements on good weather days. It's just off the highway but doesn't have direct visibility and it's in a small river town. Can I put this all together in 300 square feet space? What would an educated guesstimate be for buildout of simply building a bar and backbar with the plumbing and electric, assuming that the plumbing is right in the same area I would put the bar? What have some of you paid for the buildout just for a basic set up for espresso equipment, sinks, etc? Basic! Thanks! Did I mention that this coffee forum rocks?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Austin, Tx

    paid out

    depends...if the decor is nice look to spend at least 5-8K assuming you can get the supplies cheap. One of mine was a little large than this and I ended up spending 12K building front/back counters myself. Furiture is pretty pricey.
    I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Startup in specialty store

    I just did about the same thing in the last two months - started a coffeeshop in a the new location of a record store. 300 sq ft. is doable, but it would be nice if they would let you put some tables and chairs in other areas.

    There are a few problems that could come up in your scenario:
    - your shop might not be the destination for people, the specialty shop might be the destination, does that shop do enough business to support your shop, or is it in an area lacking in coffee/good coffee?
    - does the house have the electrical (at least 200+ AMPS) and plumbing required for a shop? your city might require a different water and sewer main than the house currently has. You'll definitely have to add backflow prevention, unless your city is really small or relaxed about code.
    - will the bathrooms have to be ADA when you add a coffeeshop?
    - don't forget a place for a mop sink.
    - make sure you can get a good lease, when you are putting $10-$20K into a place you want to be there for awhile (but don't sign for too long, go for a short-term initial lease with options to renew.)

    The place I would start is with the health department. Assuming it is a smaller town, they will probably come to the location and tell you a lot of what you will need to do. They are not the final answer though, so expect to get some different information from the building inspectors.

    Also, if you have friends that do plumbing and electrical, this could save you thousands of dollars.

    I've started a whole shop for as little as $14,000 for a 2000 sq. ft. shop that had to be completely gutted, I did put about $10,000 more dollars into it over the next year to make it nice. I've also started a shop where the equipment alone cost $15,000 - not including cabinets, plumbing, etc.

    Good luck!

    Eric (new 2 days ago so not very complete yet)

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Quad Cities
    Thanks guys for the responses. I will definitely get with the health inspector and see what to do first. I don't have alot of capital to go big, but I'm sick and tired of seeing everyone else opening up coffeehouses and they don't have a clue. I ought to be able to do something with the money that I do have! I have experience, I have a desire for a standard of excellence and I want to serve people a cup of experience! Ha, korny huh! I have to believe that there is a way! Anyway, yes, I have all sorts of areas to have seating other than just in the 300 sq ft space-mostly outdoors, but it's an awesome setting! And people can browse the store as well-3 levels! I believe that we will compliment each other's business well. There is a "coffeehouse" in town that is hurting the local businesses to some degree because they don't open consistently and people come to this town for a special day out and they want the whole pie. Sometimes the guy doesn't open until 10:00 in the morning! That's straight crazy!



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