The American Dream ~ A Coffee Shop?
Jenn wrote this about Jun 13, 2011 for the 2011 category.
We arrived back in Austin after traveling across the frozen Midwest landscape to warmer temperatures and southern hospitality! You never realize how much you miss the manners of Texans till you’ve been away. People are nice, the food is great, and the weather still sucks.
We came back with very little of a plan, our RV, and five backpacks from a year of seclusion with our Family to try the one last place we thought might be home. It wasn’t. Having our asses handed to us in Seattle with little tech work, we came back with a small savings instead of the chunks of change (anywhere from $10,000 to $14,000) for a few months of work we we’re used to gathering. The tech world has always been our base while we continue our other work and barenaked projects we find passion in. Geeking out online looking at some work prospects, Greg came across a coffee shop for sale. It was the kinda thing where we were discussing some of the work we were finding and Greg says ‘oh, and I found this coffee shop for sale…’ Sitting on the curb outside of the RV, we talked about it as a dreamy thing and remembering how we always talked about trying that out one day. We found a coffee shop years back in California and almost bought it then, but the timing was off. It was an ideal business to run with the kids and we always really liked the idea of working in a coffee shop we owned since we had always worked out of them on the road. But, really we just landed and weren’t in any position to buy anything. A few days went by as we were setting up our life in Austin and getting our feet wet with new tech work and looking for a rental place, but we always found ourselves talking about that coffee shop every night.
The coffee shop was favorably priced and that kept us coming back to the idea of talking about maybe this being the time for us to try it. Completely aware that we had just come back from one of the toughest working years of our lives, we should have been thinking there was no way we could do this. Who comes back to town and within a few weeks thinks about buying a business without financing, know how, and the slightest idea on the coffee industry? So, one afternoon we decide to sneak away and go see the shop. What?!? We were just gonna look. Introducing ourselves to the owner with ‘Don’t even take us seriously, we’re just kinda looking’…for something. We hardly said much to him and looked around the shop and could hardly contain ourselves with thoughts of what we could do there. The shop was small and brightly painted with all our favorite colors and happened to be located down the street from our first home we bought in Austin. It was very reminiscent of being back in the neighborhood where we started our Family and in a place that helped set us free for our life on the road back in 2001 when we sold that house along with everything else we owned. Here we were almost twenty years later and thinking of purchasing something in the same neighborhood.
We fell in love with the shop and talked it over the next few days, bringing the kids in to see it and dreaming about what it would be like to own this place. They loved the idea and we loved that we could all run it while continuing to run our tech stuff out of a coffee shop, our coffee shop. With no experience on how to run a business like this, our minds were spinning with ideas and tremendous self confidence that we could figure it out. Something we were pro’s at considering we’ve done some incredible things by just jumping in and making it happen. We’re totally ridiculous that way and probably career junkies with our craving for finding new things and challenging ourselves all the time. We loved that this was also an opportunity to teach our kids about being self employed since they were entering the older teenage years and were just starting to talk about gaining their independence in the world. This would be a great learning project for them to build entrepreneur, working, and relationship skills that would help serve them when they ventured out in the world. They were still a bit away from that, but we saw an opportunity that we could also use this for the ultimate schooling in some of the most authentic ways of working together. Because it would require every bit of us to pull this off.
We weren’t sure how to come up with the money to buy this place, but that has never stopped us before. Getting creative is what we do best. It was clear, we wanted to try this. Talking about it one day, a close friend overheard us discussing how to come up with the money and made an offer to help invest in it to make it happen. There was a lot of touchy feely stuff in that conversation as well, but basically we had just secured the funds to try this. Completely blown away we had just landed a few weeks ago and were now talking about buying an actual business, it was enough to make us excited and totally overwhelmed at the same time. Accepting the partnership with our close friends, we negotiated a deal and within weeks closed on the purchase of Corona Cafe. A little space that was about to get barenaked.