Starting Out...the details


New member
Apr 5, 2013
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Sorry all...long post ahead!!!

Ok, so here we go....

I just got off the phone, and our equipment is purchased. Here is what we have:

Nuova Simonelli Appia 2 group
2 Mazzer Manual Grinders
Fetco CBS 2031 Single Airpot Extractor Brewer
Bunn g2 bean grinder
True 3' fridge
Water line filtration espresso systems
various other odds and ends and consumables (such as syrups, for example).

Everything is used, but it was cared for extremely well. It all looks brand new (it's five years old in a low volume use shop). I feel like we got a pretty good deal on it. Factoring out my guess on the cost of the odds and ends and consumables, we acquired the listed equipment for around $4,000. The previous owner had the shop as a hobby and as a second source of income (their family owns another major biz), and she has even offered to come and help us set up the equipment and train us on it for a week.

We are not sure when we plan to open the shop. We have yet to write out a business plan and see if we truly want to proceed. The opportunity came up for this equipment, and our gut feeling (especially after a little research) was to jump on it. A little background, we already own two businesses with a third one to be passed over to us in the next 10-15 years. We own a photography studio and a screen printing shop, and my family's restaurant (that I grew up in) will be coming to us once my father retires (not likely ever) or he passes. We are not planning to run the coffee shop ourselves. We would partner up with someone (we are hoping it will be one of my brothers, who would be amazing at it), and we would be the financial/management oversight. I do not expect that we would never work there, but it would be the exception and not the rule.

Our largest overhead and risk will be in the form of wages. Our infrastructure overhead will be tiny. We already have a building and the perfect space for the shop on Main Street with full windows on the busy street, so there will be no rent/lease. The power consumption will only be what the equipment needs, since the building is already cooled/heated. We will need to do a little construction to be able to open...probably $2k-$3k worth (not including cost of installing a counter).

The location is excellent. We are a 2 minute walk from City Hall, the post office, the courthouse, the school district building, 3 schools, 6 bars/restaurants, and probably 40 local businesses. Our town of 26,000 has absolutely no coffee shops other than the "S" word one.

Our plan is to serve the basics on the drink sides. Espresso, drip, tea (my wife is a tea lover, so we plan for a huge variety in that), blended drinks (we will need a blender...that was not included in the equipment sale. The former owner could not live without the ability to keep making her margaritas haha), and baked goods (my wife is also an amazing baker)

Here is the where the rubber meets the road, though. I don't currently drink almost any coffee, and it is not something I love. I do feel that I could grow to love it, though. What I do love is the atmosphere it provides, and I see a massive, gaping hole in our market that is just begging to be filled. The shop would be in the front of the same building as my father's restaurant, so we believe the two would benefit each other. As I said, in order to make this happen, we have to find people to run it, and we are hoping that the manager can be my brother (who is currently out of work and looking). In that, we are considering to offer him an ownership share in the business in lieu of full wages for a yet undetermined amount of time (this is just an idea of something we can do to limit our risks...not sold on it yet). I do not yet know the business side of coffee shops. My wife worked at one for a few years, but that was a decade ago. But, I do know the restaurant biz very well, and I feel like from a lifetime in that, that coffee shops are a stripped down yet more detailed version of what I have known.

I have been reading here for the past few days, and I planning to order some reading material from a book store. My main questions right now would be:

1) How crucial it is for me to love coffee myself? Do I need to be an expert myself even if I surround myself with those who are experts in that?

2) I found the Coffee Shop for Dummies, [FONT=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Start & Run A Coffee Bar[/FONT], and How to Open a Financially Successful Coffee, Espresso, and Tea Shop. Are there other books I should read instead or in addition to these?

3) Do you see any holes in my equipment list?

4) Based on all the info I gave, what are the biggest red flags you see?

Let me just say this...I am a big boy and know how to be spoken to honestly. Please save us all time and be as brutally honest as possible haha :) I don't want a pat on the back if I would be better off with a slap across the face. We bought the equipment, but if I have to, I will sell it and walk away. i am not looking to make a huge profit on this shop...but I want it for our family, my city, and for the little bit of extra financial security it will hopefully bring with it.

I know that was a lot to read...thanks so much!