nebody else's life revolve around coffee?


New member
Jun 10, 2005
hello all,
I am new to this forum, and fairly new to the coffee industry (6 months now). I recently opened up a coffee shop and since then my life has been coffee, coffee,coffee. This industry is sooooo competitive, nehow i guess the jist of this all is, just wondering how all you fellow entrepeneurs deal with all of this. I'm not intending to sound whiney or anything i'm just part incredibley tired at the moment (been awake since 3:30am, had to be at coffee shop by 5:30am to bake and blah blah), anyhow i'm spent at the moment, and a really disappointing friday, so thought i'd put my thoughts out there to a bunch of random strangers. I by the way am only 20 years old, and since this past december put education on hold to embark on this wonderful coffee shop with my parents. For the first time since i've entered the work world i truly love what i do and don't have a day of dread going into work. Well, sometimes I get a little pissed off, like today, i cringe everytime someone walks by with a starbucks cup, theres one right across the street from my shop, fun fun. So since my life has completely revolved around coffee ground. My friends get irritated with me saying i act like i'm 40 going on 60, usually in a joking sense, but i know they partially mean it, because well on a friday night like tonight when everyone's going to get really messed up, i'm here, writing god knows what...nehow i think i've truly wasted someone's time, if your actually reading this, but hey,well nevermind.


Active member
Aug 11, 2004
Des Moines, Iowa
First of all take a step back and take a deep breath. Second Starbucks will workout to be your biggest advantage. If your coffee is roasted half as dark as theirs then it should taste better no matter what. And as soon as people realize this, you should start seeing return business. But the hard part is getting people to see you.

There are a million things I could relay to you to help you, but you have to be willing to try them. One thing you have to realize is that if you over Micromanage yourself and your store you will burn out. I have seen some of the best restaurants that were always packed with patrons close! Why, because the owner over managed his store, under minded his managers, and then got burned out beating his head on the wall.

Take another breath! Friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks! (Great bumper sticker)

If your store is a mom and pop shop, it sounds like you are the only employee. Everything is going to sound and be hectic for a while. So just stand back and try to put everything is to perspective and make sense of it all.

Besides you should stop the people who are walking by with Starbucks cup and offer them a business card with a coupon for a free drink on the back of the card. This way they find out about your shop and get some type of reinforcement for stopping by and having a drink. Just don't forget to punch the business card so it can’t be reused!


New member
Jun 10, 2005
and the day goes on...

thanx for the encouragement. For the most part business is good, its just some days get discouraging. Today was really awesome, our shop does really good with advertisement based on word of mouth from loyal customers. We haven't branched out yet and done any major advertising, but soon enough we well. Part of me feels proud that we can survive based on this, but on the other hand i think of how much better we could be doing. Today we got asked if we would be willing to cater lunch to the employees at city hall downtown, so i'm super pumped about that.

I also realize that starbucks being so close by is an advantage as well, i mean it seems as though we get all the anti starbucks ppl. We brew quality coffee, and also offer organic fair trade coffee for the same price as our regular coffees. It just pisses me off though because another coffee shop just behind us (who had been there a year prior to us) just brought in the same line of organic fair trade coffee and they are major advertising whores. But i can't blame them, we all gotta pay our bills at the end of the day. You just have to fiind your niche, be confident in your product, and not get caught up in the competition. Oh a little sad tidbit to my day, some little punk street kids came in and stole our tips when i had my back turned for like two seconds. ugh. oh well its not that i cared that they took the money, its a matter of that money was given to me in appreciation of the work that I put out. but whatever, maybe they needed it more. anyhow i welcome any more advice, and realize that in my first post was a bit of a downer, but hey i was reallly sleepy. I'm a little more energized having just finished work, and am really excited to enjoy my one day off tomorrow. i'm just going to sit on my ass all day. nice.

"It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees." - Emiliano Zapata

Even on your worst day, sounds like you are living it on your terms. Sure beats cranking widgets for the man.

I agree with CCafe. Starbucks is good for the specialty coffee industry and Starbucks is vulnerable because of their coffee. A good operator will always benefit with having a stinky green mermaid nearby.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

It is hard to exhale when it is your store, your hours, your passion, your life. You want to hold it all in. But exhale.

And by all means, hang in there. The world needs more independent coffee shops who care about the coffee more than creating a secrety society.

And even if you have the same products, you can brew a little heavier (try SCAA gold cup) and you can always always have a better experience.

Best of luck.



New member
May 15, 2005
I've been in the coffee business for 5 yrs. and sometimes days are rough, I agree. Maybe we are the same peson. You describe me to a t! I live in a small town tho and we just recently got a strbx 20 miles away. When we opened, there wasn't a coffeehouse ANYWHERE here. (my family is from CA) No one around here even knew what espresso was. Now that there's a strbx near, they are all experts! Some days it ticks me off, but it's not that bad. After reading your post. I thought of an idea. What if you separated yourself from the "strbx" by having signature drinks. Just a few latte with funky names, and a special drink board. Something like the "looney bean" or name them after streets or buildings in your town, that way it gives your customers the feeling like it is THEIR coffeehouse. you might be doing this already. I'm great at coming up with coffee names. Funky ones too.
I too eat sleep and drink coffee. Constantly thinking. Just don't let it consume you. It's a great feeling to walk into the shop, and say...ah...Mine!


New member
Dec 29, 2004
Keep your head up, I'm sure there will be plenty of folks who approve of coffee the way it's supposed to be. :grin: The nexttime your stnading around someone with a starbucks cup, just briefly mention to someone near you about those deadly chemicals and hormones that are used in Starbucks creamers. :p :p :wink: (jut kidding) :D


New member
Oct 28, 2004
People here think that I'm the cynical iconoclast of creation but I gotta say how proud you guys and gals make me. I sit at home and brew up my own coffee 90% of the time and it is pretty easy to become dismissive of your efforts. But when I read about young guys who are willing to take on Star*ucks and do your own thing; walk your own path it ills me with both admiration and humility.

The very best of luck to you, sir. Tell me where you have your shop and I'll come and enjoy a cuppa your best.


New member
Jan 7, 2006
I can really relate. I just opened up my own coffee shop and I was 18 years old. I had no help at all, just me. It is very wearing and I can't tell you the amount of times I said, "What were you thinking?" I am a full-time college student as well and between carrying 12 credits and working 70+ hours..... there are no words for that. But hey! I am here to tell the story so I made it so far! And everyone is right. Starbucks will probably be a great "perk" for your business. Just stick it out. I, like yourself, never dread going to work even thought the time and hours are difficult. Good luck! You are not alone!