Advice please


New member
Jan 3, 2006
Ft. Collins, CO
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Hello. I am new to this forum, but from what I've seen it seems like there are plenty of experienced people on here that are willing to help. Thank you in advance.

So here's my siutation - In April of 2005 my boyfriend's parents bought took over an exisiting coffee shop, but have really strugled ever since. I moved to the area in June and have been trying to help them out as much as I can. When they bought the shop they didnt look into things too much and basically went into it without any knowledge of coffee or business for that matter. We later found out that under the previous owner the shop had a reputation for being very dirty and rude to customers. So we are fighting to change that reputation which has been a slow process.

The location isnt bad, just not great either. Its in a shopping center near several business offices and the main hospital. It's tucked away though, so many people don't know that we are there. I know that there is potential in the shop, we just need to spread the word and with no extra money for advertising, this makes things a bit difficult. Before "mean dirty man" owned the shop, it was owned by a small group of ladies who did very well there. Things just went down hill after he took it over.

They have been considering selling the business, which kills me because I have personally invested so much of my time and energy already- developing menus, marketing stuff, pricing, a new website, etc- and I'd hate to just give up. I am really miserable at my current job so I am thinking about becoming a partner in the coffee shop so that we get a business loan and turn things around.

I realize that it is a big risk, especially because I am so young (23) but I know it can work. I think the main reason that it hasn't yet (besided the reputation thing) is they jumped into it without any sort of business plan or business knowledge for that matter. I'm not saying that I know it all (far from it) but I do have expreience with small business and am confident that if I was able to devote all my energy to it that it would be successful. I already have my BA (in psychology) and do not plan to have kids in the next few years so I would be totally focused.

Am I crazy? Any suggestions, advice?
Sorry it got so wordy.


New member
Dec 4, 2005
New York
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it is possible to turn things around:

a couple of ideas: start a marketing progarm to all the employees of the shopping center stores. Have your parents (together or alone) go around to every employee, manager, and owner and handout free coffee/latte cards, it will not cost much and they will begin to repair the reputation. Those employees will then recommend your shop to their customers.

Second problem, getting the customers of the shopping center: alot of these customers may frequent the shopping center on a regular bases. Give free coffee coupons to the other stores to hand out to thier customers to get them check out the "new Management"

this is low cost and very effective

the last idea is make sure that every customer that does come in the store, that your parents make a personal connection with each one, come out from behind the counter and sit and talk with people.

One new regular daily customer $2.50 latte x 30 days = $75.00 month


New member
koffeekettle said:
I know that there is potential in the shop, we just need to spread the word and with no extra money for advertising, this makes things a bit difficult.

Do you have regulars that like the shop, and you or your boyfriend's parents have befriended? Ask them to spread the words that there is a change of ownership and the place is clean, the coffee is great and the service is friendly and fast. Ask them to post your menu at their offices/work.

Can you replicate the concept of those ladies who did very well before? If they had a winning strategy, then copy it. Better yet, can you ask them for help?

Also, it's too early to judge the business because turn around usually take a little longer than a new shop because you do need to over come previous reputation.