Newbie... Am I on to something here?


New member
Oct 20, 2005
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Hi all… well I’m new to this coffee thing and this seems like a really cool forum. I’m in the very early planning stages of a coffee shop and I thought I run my plan by everybody to see if it seems feasible.

My wife and I own a music school and have about 100 students a week coming through our house (we don’t live there and we do own the house.) The downstairs is on the street level in a busy neighborhood with a lot of foot traffic. The downstairs is about 700 square feet, has its own bathroom and is already plumbed for a sink (it was once used as a separate apartment.) I am thinking that this would be a good place for a coffee shop. The house is zoned commercially and I already had an architecht come through and make sure the city would let us do it (he got back to me this week and everything is good to go.) We already have a built in customer base in the afternoons (3pm -7pm parents just sit in their car and wait for they’re kids’ lessons to end.) In the beginning I’m thinking the coffee shop would be geared more as a service for the student and parentss than for outside customers, but obviously I would like it to catch on with the public too.

So my question is… what am I missing. This sort of seems like a no brainer (keep in mind there are several coffee shops within a 5 mile radius of us.) There is obviously the cost of equipment… but besides that what else am I looking at cost wise? I’ll probably need an employee or 2 in the afternoons and I’ll work in the mornings. Our mortgage is pretty cheap and the music business more than covers that.

I’m calling on your experience. Does this seem like a good idea?

Thanks a lot for the help,


New member
Feb 8, 2005
South Africa
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i wont say you posted in the wrong space...youve got a VERY different concept going here.

heres a few q's for you?

what are you business hours?
would you like to stay open for another 6 hours after youve had your last music student or will you close straight after?

if you have the feet...go all the way.
advertise that your coffee shop would be the ideal place for music lovers and learners to commute.
once youve opened you can arrange with other music societies to come round and make an evening of it.

the closest i get to music is listening to it driving to work but im sure its a needed concept. why not go all the way and drag in a few poets, painters, etc...?

let me know if it would be of any help.


Jumpin Java Bean

New member
May 27, 2005
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True, it would seem like a successful effort, especially with a certain amount of "captive" consumers. Near me there is an organic cafe that parents of an (also) nearby private school tend to congregate in just after drop off and before pick up. The 5 shops seem like a good indication that you are in a coffee culture.

The primary concern you should have is the question of what it takes to run 2 different businesses. The details will be enormous, and Health Department will expect standards and practices that will have nothing to do with a mental image of a few friends, or parents of students, hanging around some pretty room dumping money into the cash register.

Cindy's suggestion for an expanded arts/cultural center is excellent - but that is almost a third business. I know a couple partners with a successful live music/poetry/film group coffeehouse, and one of them has the primary focus of the acts and activities, promotion, and booking, and the other deals with the beans, vendors, etc. They both make coffee.

Good luck though, and let us know your progress. Bottom line: I'd do it if it were me, but understand I'm a little reckless. Seize the day, and so forth.


New member
Dec 4, 2005
New York
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I think it will work, 700 square feet is not much just try a fit enough places to sit as possible. To capture the foot traffic make sure you paint the front of the house to make it stand out and paint or add a huge sign to the front always include the words "Coffee House" in your name.

you'll do fine



New member
Jun 24, 2006
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to my knowledge.

there are many surprises in renovations.

i, along with my team at work, hate, just hate renovation projects.

in new building projects everything is fine, everything is a blank canvas, the, pipes, hvac, framing, etc are all visible and ready to go.

come to reno projects, and things go wrong. you'll come across things hiding behind walls, the hvac, the electrical, pipes etc. are unknown

in general rule of thumb, in your renovation project, add 2 months to your schedule, and $25K to your budget.


New member
Apr 4, 2006
Austin, Tx
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Sounds like a great idea but I think we all need more info.
1. What area are you in(geographical)rural/metropolitan
2. Are all your students children
3. Will you be advertising
4. How much do you want the music school to play into the shop
5. What are the parents like? Yuppies, low income families?
6. Who will be running it and what type of staff do you intend to hire(image)

From what I'm seeing so far you might do better having a real tea house
yuppy moms and old blue haired ladies love that sort of thing and if all of your parents showing up with kids are women you should really focus on them and their wants

If you have a good relationship with the parents ask them for suggestions. I have noticed a growing trend in my area for orgs. like large churches starting cafe's for their private schools and they seem to be doing fairly well but its hard to tell with that sort of thing. I would love to see a large music school/cafe cross over with chamber music concerts and solos and whatnot.


New member
Jun 26, 2006
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go for it. you have biz experience, just apply the same to coffee. lease some equipment and see what happens. I thinkit would be great, then your students can perform on weekend nights as practice and get the feel of an audience. form a band with them.