I guess first off I should introduce myself; I am a barista at a chain coffee shop (wanna guess which one? :D). I like the job, making drinks, trying new coffees and coffee-brewing techniques, and dealing with most of the people that stop by for a cup of coffee or a latte.
I find it quite enjoyable. In fact, I find the job enjoyable enough to consider trying to set up a coffee cart, truck, or trailer within the Downtown Decatur, Alabama area.
This city's downtown area has been pretty much dead for years. But recently, though, it's started to pick up. We just finished building a fine arts center, which is associated with a local community college; a good bit of the fine arts classes are taught here, but I think some of the classes are still being taught at the fine arts building on campus. Also, more restaurants are moving downtown, which makes me think other businesses will follow. Hell, we even have a record store that shares a building with a deli-type restaurant. That shop sells coffee, but if I remember correctly, it's a pretty limited coffee menu; I'll admit it's been a while since I've been there (I mainly stop by to see if there's any good deals on good records :D), but I'll check out the menu and prices next time I'm there.
With the resurrection of our downtown scene, why wouldnt I want to just open a regular coffee shop?I've driven around downtown, and all the "good" locations are taken already. By good, I mean near the fine arts center. There are a few shops for rent a few blocks away (and one next door to the farmers market, which can draw a decent crowd). But with this new arts center comes a surge of students that might want a quick drink or pick-me-up between art classes. Ideally, there's a sitting area outside with some benches and tables, and I'd like to set up there if the college will allow (and I'd be willing to pay rent or donate some time to campus events or whatever it takes, as long as the rent and/or demands arent unreasonable). Or, alternatively, they've got a massively parking lot for the amount of students that go there, and most of it is not being used with the exception of a few construction machines and the occasional sleepy trucker.
Also, I'd like to take my cart to local festivals; there's an annual Native American festival in neighboring Lawrence County as well as a weekend-long festival called the Chicken and Egg festival (yeah, redneck to the max, but still possibly a moneymaker, at least in my mind). Also, there's an arts festival in Huntsville every year and a small Renaissance festival in Florence. I know there's more, but that's all I can think of off the top of my head.
I'm confident I can build, with the help of some friends and relatives, a good coffee cart or make a truck or trailer in to a coffee-making machine. But one concern I have is finding a commissary, since that's pretty much a requirement by the Alabama State board of Health document I have printed out that I'm looking at (mobile food vendors, trucks, trailers, and pushcarts) need a commissary to dump waste water, store/deal with food, etc. I know I need to contact the county health department about this, and I will, granted I can get permission from the arts center; I dont really see a point in screwing around with the health department if the place I want to set up wont allow it.
Also, I'm not dead set in any form of setup, cart, trailer, kiosk, or otherwise. if I can set up a kiosk / coffee bar with running water and electricity, I'd be all up for that, too.
Wow. I just realized I typed a damn novel. I'll stop for now to see if I can get any advice, guidance, criticism (I've got a thick skin. I went through art school; I've been told my work and/or ideas are stupid for years! :D)
<message edited by Jaredgibson87 on Thu, 09/13/12 5:09 PM>