Week 2: Lessons in Coffee

Heyo! Well, I made it to Alberta safe and sound - and had an amazing weekend with my family at my cousin's wedding!!  It's not easy living across the country - and it's always great to be back out west, enjoying the prairie landscape and all the fresh air that comes with it!

Here's a map of my travels thus far: TORONTO TO BEAVERLODGE - I've traveled approximately 3,799 km for Week 3!

I left off my last blog about my job at Pennylicks cafe.  To recap and talk about the reality of working in such a position, I should ask myself a few questions...

What's so great about owning and running your own cafe? I love meeting new people, and consider myself a pretty easy person to talk to.  Personally, I believe that coffee brings people together (Kieley also mentioned this in her blog), and that a cafe can act as a community-centre of sorts.  Coffee can soothe.  It can act as a mediator of conversation and debate.  Coffee is a refuge.  It's a privilege to be able to sit down and read a great book or visit with a friend while sipping on a great soy latte.  I feel that I would get a great amount of satisfaction out of creating a positive space and experience for others.

What kind of problems can I see? As I've mentioned in my 2 previous blogs on Pennylicks, time commitment is key to owning and running a successful business.  I would have to fully commit myself to my store - and work evenings, weekends, and holidays to make it worth while.  That said - I could also make my own hours, but obviously I would have to be open long enough to make some money!

What would my cafe be like? My dream cafe would be more than just a place to drink great coffee.  It would double as an art gallery, and perhaps even a wine bar at night.  I envision local musicians coming in to host open-mics and maybe even spoken word or poetry readings.  I see my cafe as a place where people would come because they felt safe, comfortable and inspired to be there.  I see it as a place that would support local artists and help give them a stage through which they could share their talents.

Realizations: I'm more in love with the idea of the 'experience' than the actual coffee itself!  It's all fine and good to enjoy the community atmosphere, but it's not all gonna be perfectly steamed milk and roses.  There's financing needed to renovate a space and buy equipment, you have to be able to make (and stick to) your budget, and then there's the realization that to succeed it will take TIME.  Cafe's aren't overnight successes - a lot are simply built on word-of-mouth, and can take years to establish themselves.

Questions: Am I that patient?  Can I put my money where my coffee is?  Am I willing to dedicate that much of my time to making my cafe work??  And importantly - would I be able to handle it if my cafe failed?

A lot to think about...and perhaps I'll get some added perspective on small business during my week at the Beaverlodge Butcher Shop...should be interesting!

Night night,