Seeking advice on convincing Landlord about Coffee Shop

Blue Monkey

New member
Feb 6, 2005
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Here's my situation. My wife and I just recently bought a hair salon which shares a building with Ben & Jerry's. The owner of the building is also the owner of the extremely popular 5 star restaraunt next door. He bought our building 25 years ago in order to control what businesses are next to his precious Pine Club. (Before he bought the building, there was a pet store in it which had monkeys in the front window. These monkeys apparently enjoyed throwing feces at the window as his wealthy patrons walked by. Not someting you want to see before dinner.) He is of the belief that should be a "synergy" between the three businesses. For example, he doesnt serve desserts at his place, so 15 years ago he brought in Ben & Jerrys.

When we took over the hair salon three months ago, I had an idea that Ben & Jerrys was struggling and that a coffee shop would do great in that space. We're located on the University of Dayton, so we're talking lots of college kids and wealthy racquetclub women from the salon. Two weeks ago, a "for Lease " sign appeared in the window of the Ben & Jerrys. I am not the least bit prepared for this but I feel this is my chance and i have to act fast. I've got two experienced baristas on board and we've been busting ass trying to get things lined up. Before Mr. Pine Club will lease to the space to me he wants to know exactly what I have planned. Although I don't blame him for being selective, I'm not quite sure what he wants to hear. Any ideas would be much appreciated. My partner and I are meeting with him on Friday to pitch him our concept. I want the coffee shop to be an extension of the salon and we plan on selling organic, shade-grown, fair trade cofffees exclusively.

Also, does anyone have a ballpark estimate on what it may cost to rennovate a small Ben & Jerrys into a coffee shop. (Furniture, new counter, flooring, ceiling, etc.)?

I'm planning on getting Alex Fisenko's consulting program. Anybody had experience with him?

Blue Monkey
 

cafemakers

New member
Nov 3, 2004
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he wants to know exactly what I have planned. Although I don't blame him for being selective, I'm not quite sure what he wants to hear.

I'm going to guess that he wants to hear information that will leave him reasonably assured that he's not going to be spending a lot of money on tenant improvements and then have to look for a new tenant in 6 months.

Have you already developed your business plan? Your business plan will be the optimal method of presenting a detailed overview of your business goals to the landlord, along with the supporting industry information and projected financial data data that they will want to see to know that you have covered all of your bases.

They sell monkeys in pet shops?

With respect to the employees, you may be better off finding people that are passionate about coffee and the craft rather than those that have worked in another shop as a barista; at least someone who admits that they need to learn, and are willing to do so. It's much easier to train new people the right way - your way - than train bad habits out of the "experienced stars." There are rare exceptions. Rare.

For my final point: they sell monkeys in pet shops? Shouldn't someone need a permit or something to get a monkey? I always pictured some kind of government agency involved in monkey adoptions.
 

ElPugDiablo

New member
Jul 16, 2004
991
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Hartford and New Haven, CT
My landlord also was seeking "upscale" retailers for his spaces, to help to win him over, I downloaded two or three pics of coffeehouses that maybe are better looking than what I can afford but nevertheless close to what I want to do. In my business plan, I put in words like "focusing on sophiticated clientele" to reinforce my point. I got his nod in less than one week.

To tie this in with your other post. You might not want to emphasis on the fair trade angle, like it or not, fair trade does generated a counter culture image, and your landlord may have this vision of tatooed, body pierced kids hang in out in front of your shop. I know of more than one shop owners in liberal Northeast college towns that have problem with their neighbors and landlords because of kids hang out in front of their shops. To make matter worst, more often than not, those kids don't buy much coffee in there, they just like to hang out in front of a cool place.
 
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Blue Monkey

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Feb 6, 2005
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Thanks for the advice guys and wish me luck. As for the monkeys in the window, this was 25-30 years ago. I think it was relatively easy to get spider monkeys and smaller primates back then. Any ideas where I can get some pictures of nice shops to show him. I like that idea.

Blue Monkey
 

xt

New member
Feb 13, 2005
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Landlord

How did it go with the landlord? Sounds like he knows what he is doing. I would learn to love the guy, gain his confidence. A business plan is critical but suggest you summarize it in a few major points. Show how your coffee shop will cater to your landlord's patrons, as well as students - a cross section.

Anyway, just a few thoughts.

XT
 

Coffee Guy

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Oct 19, 2003
874
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Seattle,Washington USA
Hi Blue Monkey (B.M.):

I admire your determination and wish you luck. However, if you have only been renting from him for 3 months, as a property owner I would have to wonder if you could take on such a load. You realize that to do a build out of this sort is not only going to take additional capital, but also additional time and effort on your part, not to mention running another business which is not remotely related to your existing business. Is your existing shop large enough to place an espresso cart set up inside? If so, and you are still interested in serving espresso, I would advise to start off that way. At least you'll keep your extra expenditures less and under better control. And once you've earned enough from both your existing shop with the espresso add-on, then maybe you can venture out and open an espresso location.

Just something to consider... :)
 

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