Customer Loyalty or Location, location, location


New member
Jun 29, 2010
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Hi there!
I'm in the processing of building a biz plan for a new shop. Since I currently work in another customer service business where I know most of my customers by name, I have the unique opportunity to tap that customer base, migrating them into my new coffee shop. (no worries 2 totally different services businesses, so I'm not stealing anyone's business).

My question...

What is more important for a coffee shop 1) starting with a customer base that knows you (i.e. not being the nameless faceless newbie) or 2) being in the "ideal" space with high foot traffic/street exposure?

My dilemma is do I open in the neighborhood that knows me, in a semi-good space- or do I choose the "best" location anywhere in the city and start with a completely unknown customer base?

Any advice is appreciated and there will be more threads to come as I iron out breakeven, sales forecasts, technicalities etc..



Well-known member
Aug 15, 2005
Central North Carolina
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Building a customer base is key and this can put you well on your way to breaking even daily. But to really start profiting I feel like you have to be in a high traffic area. Your loyal customers will usually seek you out as long as you're not too far out of their way. Later!

John P

Active member
Jan 5, 2007
Salt Lake City
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"Best Location" and "High(est) traffic area" are not necessarily the same thing.

Often times people will look at numbers of potential people, cars, etc, rather than number of coffee drinkers. Know the area and the general habits of the populace and choose your site accordingly.

Good Luck!


New member
Aug 2, 2010
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Having done this for a number of years now, I would always choose the location with the best WALKING traffic, in the right demographic--business people, college students, tourists, etc. . .

It is rare that one will pay too much for a very good location, but it is easy to pay too much for a poor one.

Remember, one can always fix problems IN the shop: equipment, coffee roasts, employees, pricing, menu, etc . . . The only thing that can NOT be fixed is a poor location.


Hanalei, Hawaii