Monday, November 27, 2006

Grand Opening Plans

We are currently looking at mid March for a Grand Opening. We intend to open in February, but our Grand Opening event will be March 17 (tentative). I have a friend who has Darth Vader and Storm Trooper armor (real stuff, like in the actual movies). In fact, George Lucas flew him to NYC to do publicity events in Times Square when the Star Wars Battlefront 2 video game was released!
In exchange for a donation to Memorial Hospital's pediatric ward, Matt and his friends are going to be at our Grand Opening. We will be offering photos with them for $5, and the proceeds will also be donated to Memorial Hospital (their headquarters/admin offices are right behind us).
In the afternoon, I want to have the US Olympic Judo team on site, and we will do the same thing with the photos. All proceeds from the afternoon session will go to support the US Olympic Judo team. I still need to work out arrangements with Tammy Liddie, the USA Judo Project Manager (her husband is Ed Liddie, the Olympic coach and bronze medalist in the 1984 Olympic Games).
Here is a shot of Ed Liddie helping Jonah with his belt:

A local magazine editor contacted me and wanted to purchase some of my photography for use in her magazine. I told her I would rather work out a trade instead of $$ payment. She is going to give us advertising space in her magazine, as well as write a several page feature article on us and our business! She has approx 15 years experience as a graphic artist in advertising, and she also offered to work on our business cards, letterhead, logo, color schemes, etc... How cool is that?

I need to nail down the dates and plans soon, as we have family planning to travel to Colorado for our opening!

On a side note, stop by our friends' coffee shop on Boulder and Institute if you find yourself in the area. Paul and Heather's shop is called the Raven's Nest, and they have awesome coffee! Their roaster is Crowfoot Valley, out of Castle Rock, Colorado.

Let the demolition begin!

We signed our lease on Wednesday November 22! We are now free and clear to tear the place up! One of the two spaces was remodeled in the last several years and is clean. The adjacent space is downright nasty... I have removed the asbestos floor tiles, but much work remains to be done just to get it into a condition where you might begin to think it could be an occupiable space. I spent most of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday over there, along with help from Jim (father-in-law), Tracy, and the kids.
We finished removing the internal walls in the first space, removed all of the carpet (what a pain! commercial carpet glued down to the concrete slab), demo'd drywall from the firewall separating the two spaces, etc. I began moving the electrical in the wall where our openings are going to be. Do you realize how much wire costs these days? A 1000' spool of 12/2 with ground Romex is $268 at Home Depot. My electrician friend returned my call just minutes before I started cutting some of the Romex and informed me that I have to use aluminum clad flex in a commercial space. I was literally within 10 minutes of not being able to return the Romex! I traded the Romex spool for 100' of flex, along with new connectors. I will need much more than that overall, but 100' will allow me to move the electrical components that are currently in the way.
I also bought lumber to frame the openings between the two spaces and will begin framing once I've moved the electrical.
I also demo'd the storefront window display units and cabinets in the adjacent space, and removed the asbestos floor tiles that were beneath them. Does anyone need six large sheets of tempered glass???
Our hardwood flooring will be delivered tomorrow. Luckily, our property manager gave us another empty space close by to use as a storage unit. It will make things much easier having a 1000 sq ft 'warehouse' within 50' of our space.
I took advantage of Black Friday to buy some things we need for the shop. I bought a laser printer for $50 after rebates, as well as several components I need to build a high end computer for the photo studio. I bought two computer desks and office chairs at Staples on Wednesday. I don't like to buy MDF/particle board furniture, but these were on clearance and I couldn't pass up the pricing! One was marked down from $149 to $19, the other $89 to $9!
I also bought a small refrigerator (dorm size) for the shop. It will more than pay for itself over 2-3 months of construction. Stocking it with food and drinks will be much cheaper than buying meals when I get hungry...
The kids have had a great time smashing walls with hammers and crowbars. There is nothing like a little destruction to light up their faces! I just hope they don't try it at home!
I took some photos this weekend, and will post some later...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Nemo's Coffee, LLC

We met with an agency yesterday to set up our business entity. We are having one master LLC, and will have a couple of off-shoots called DBA's (doing businiess as) for Nemo's Coffee and for the photography studio. Nautilus Photography and Nautilus Studio are already taken... I may do Nautilus Portrait Studio instead...

Dilbert and Wally explain why we will be successful:

...and coffee driven productivity:

Gotta run...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Busy Week So Far...

We are having a very busy week so far.
Our attorney is still reviewing the lease, and we should have that finalized by Monday. We are unable to do any demo work until the lease is signed, so it is slowing us down. I have walls to tear down!!

COMPUTERS - We need five to start with...
I was going to build a new computer for the kids area, which will be the host computer for the free site WIFI. I found a good deal at Dell Small Business, so I ordered a computer for this function. I got everything for $500 and free shipping. To build an equivalent computer would have cost me $800 just for the parts (it has a 19" LCD monitor that retails for $200 by itself).
POS (Point of Sale):
I am modifying an existing computer that I built for the kids last year to use for our POS system. I just need to put a better motherboard and CPU in it, and add some RAM to go from 512K to 1 GB. We will have to buy a bar code scanner and thermal printer, and we are getting POS software from our tax accountant.
We need an office computer that will act as a server for the POS system. The database will be housed there, and will prevent employee access to accounting records not needed to process transactions. We will be using our new laptop in this function...
POS Display:
I have an idea for increasing sales that I have not seen anywhere before. I am going to have a second computer at the POS (under cabinet-hidden), with the monitor (19" LCD flat panel) facing the customers. I am going to do high quality studio photography of our espresso drinks, blended beverages, etc and have them shown on the monitor facing the customer. They will loop via a DVD movie, and we can also advertise retail merchandise, the photography studio, upcoming live music events and art exhibitions, etc. The idea is to sell a $3.50 drink to someone who came in for $1.50 coffee. I will also show photos of pastries, lunch items, and even Cokes and candy bars! I'm interested in seeing how a visual aid at the POS will affect customer decisions!
I will need a high end computer for photo and video editing. I have been buying individual components over the last several months, as I see components on sale, or have large rebates. I will end up building a $2000 system (retail price) for about $750!
It is not a priority for now, but we intend to have 3 or 4 computers free for customer use. I will either keep my eyes peeled for good deals/rebates, or just wait for screamin' deals at Dell.

We have had several days to try out our new Mazzer espresso grinder and Pasquini Livea 90 Auto espresso machine. I am so happy to have a quality machine at home! We went through several machines from Starbucks over several years that were junk. I will post some photos of 'the good stuff' soon...

Intel asked me several times to stay on through the end of the year. We worked it out today for me to be here until December 21 instead of leaving December 1. This may push our opening date to February instead of January, but that's OK. Since we do not have a lease signed yet, we were already at risk of pushing into February anyway.

Tracy has been trying all kinds of product samples and is making decisions on what we will carry. She is trying to find products that are all natural, and do not contain a bunch of preservatives, hydrogenated muck, and other chemicals. Various coffee rosters carry products we are interested in, but they are very uncooperative and sometimes rude if we choose not to use their coffee. That's a bummer, because most of the roasters in Colorado Springs are horrible. We are probably going to go with Equator coffee out of San Rafael, California. Their product is excellent, their wholesale prices are fair, and they are friendly.
Here is their website:

On a side note, I found a house this week that we can buy (HUD Repo) for around $65,000 and appraised last month for $122,000. It is clean and needs very little rehab work. We have a partnership with two of my colleagues at Intel to 'FLIP' houses. This one may be our first... We haven't had much luck landing our first investment property for rehab, but this one looks promising!

That's enough for now...
Gotta run.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Trip to Boulder

We drove up to Boulder, Colorado today to visit Allison's something or other coffee shop. She has the closest Synesso Cyncra machine to us. Oh my gosh... 10 years ago, Starbucks had great espresso. They have slowly migrated away from being excellent, to being mediocre, but everywhere. They have adopted the 'McDonalds of Coffee' philosophy. The drink I had today was one of the best I've had in years. Right now, the only two places I know to get excellent espresso is Allison's in Boulder, and the Raven's Nest in Colorado Springs on the corner of Boulder and Institute (a shop owned and operated by our friends Paul and Heather).
Trying the Sysnesso drink today solidified our decision to go with the Cyncra for our shop... No more doubts, no more questions.

And the harp player at Allison's

We also went to the Denver Museum of Natural Science, and went to see "Papa" (Tracy's grandfather).
Oh yeah, and the Broncos won 17-13... GO Broncos!

As for this coming week, we need to meet with our lawyer to review the lease, meet with an agent to file for our business entity, get our tax ID information, set up our business bank account, review our architectural contractor's bid, contact electricians and plumbers, set up a trip to Synesso in Seattle, finalize our equipment list and send to for pricing, work out pricing for Fetco brewing systems with Maric Beverages, begin finalizing our menu, finding a storage location for all the equipment and construction supplies, etc...
So much to do...

Saturday, November 11, 2006


I showed this new blog to Tracy last night, and she assured me that the 'birth of Nemo' will be much less painful than the birth of Josh, Jonah, and Ethan (our kids)!!

I met our architectural contractor at the store today. He will be putting together pricing for us to do our wall work, and to build a soffet above the bar area.

We received our sound system yesterday, and the Bose 301 speakers sound awesome! I only hooked up one set, but the shop will have four Bose 301 speakers. It is going to sound great!

Gotta run... Jonah has a birthday party, Tracy has a Silpada jewelry party, and I need to run some errands and take Josh and Ethan to McDonalds for lunch (Josh's request). Then we are teaching 3rd grade Sunday School at our church for the 5:30pm Saturday service. I guess that makes it Saturday School...

We are going to Boulder, Colorado tomorrow to see a Synesso Cyncra espresso machine in action!

Friday, November 10, 2006

First day of the blog...

Tracy and I are well underway to opening our coffee shop. This research actually started several years ago, and an incredible amount of work has been done just in recent months. We did not capture any of those events, but we are just now beginning construction, ordering equipment, choosing decor items, etc.

Here is where we stand:
We are leasing a space near Pikes Peak and Printer's Parkway in Colorado Springs. It is currently two spaces, separated by a firewall. We will be removing the firewall to make the space one large, 2000 sq foot space. We are currently in the final stages of reviewing the lease (28 pages!). We will sign the lease early next week and be free and clear to continue construction!

Tracy did a great job working on our layout. We will have the coffee retail line, a large area for tables, a kid's room (to allow a place for our kids when they have to be there with us), and a photo studio. We had a completely different layout, but we went and did as-builts of the existing walls and modified our layout to match. We want to do as little construction as possible, for time and $$ reasons. Here is a link to a scan of our rough layout:

We are meeting with a tax accountant this afternoon to determine if we are going to be an LLC, an S Corporation, or a C Corporation. We will also be setting up our books with Quickbooks Pro, establishing our Sales Tax information, etc...

I ordered our sound system from, and it was delivered today! We are using an XM ready Yamaha receiver, Yamaha CD player, four Bose 301 speakers, and a Sony powered subwoofer. That should work...

We also ordered our decaf grinder (Mazzer mini-P), our back up espresso maching (Pasquini Livia 90 Auto) and they are going to arrive on Monday.

We narrowed our primary espresso machine search down to a La Marzocco Linea 2 Group automatic, or a Synesso Cyncra 2 Group. We wanted the Cyncra, but chose the La Marzocco due to a lack of service technician's in the area for Synesso. I was an electronic's technician and nuclear reactor operator for 12 years, operating, maintaining, calibrating and troubleshooting reactor instrumentation and controls equipment (US Naval submarine service). I was also a field service engineer for Tokyo Electron diffusion furnace systems, as well as a certified weld inspector and quality assurance inspector in the semiconductor industry (I am currently a project manager at Intel).

I contacted Synesso and spoke to them about the idea of training me to be a service technician for them, and to also become a local sales rep and retailer of Synesso espresso machines! We still need to work out the details, but I'm planning to travel to Seattle in December to receive my training! This will allow us to purchase a Cyncra at a wholesale rate, be our own technician, as well as be an advocate and sales rep for Synesso here in Colorado Springs!

Well, that is enough for now...
I will try to make updates several times a week, if not daily!