Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Nemo's Loyalty Card

I just finished the artwork for our 'Loyalty' card. I set it up where you get your 10th drink free. I made rows of stamps for Espresso Drinks, Smoothies, and Brewed coffee. This will keep people from buying 9 coffees for $1.50 each, and then getting a $5.00 Smoothie for free.
Here is what it looks like:
Back side:

and the front:

Gotta run...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Just a quick note...

I've been meaning to add some more shots of the cafe, but haven't had a chance. Here is a quick snapshot from the other day. We've had this leather Mission chair in our house for several years and thought it would make for a nice, comfortable place to sit in the shop...

Paul Kulik came in this weekend and hung a number of his amazing panoramic prints. He has some wonderful landscapes printed and framed up to six or eight feet long. I dream of going to the places Paul has gone...
If you are local, please stop by and check out his incredible work. Heck, stop by even if you are not local!

The holiday weekend put the skids on sales starting Thursday. I thought we would show about -30% growth for the week, as compared to last week. We actually ended up less than 1% off of last week sales! I think that is great! Monday (today) counts for this week, and we had almost no sales. We opened for about four hours for Tracy's grandpa to come down from Denver and see the place. I think we had about 9 customers today, and at least half of them were family!

I just want to give a special thanks to my brother Aubrey, who is serving his third tour in Iraq. I pray for his safety and I ask that you do as well; not just for him, but for everyone involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. So many have given their lives for our country, from our initial freedom, to now. Regardless of your political alignment or your thoughts on the war, please support our troops with your prayers and blessings!

Take care,

Friday, May 25, 2007

We Support Our Troops!

Coffee House Comic Project

Josh and Jonah had their last day of school today. Tracy and I have our schedule worked out so that they will only need to be here at the shop for a few hours a day, as opposed to 'living' here all summer. I gave Josh a summer project to write a comic book script, and I will help him to do the graphic arts. He developed his story line, and he created these characters all by himself:

Click on the image to see it larger!

Marvel comics sponsors a site called http://www.heromachine.com/
where kids can create their own characters... Check it out!

Starbucks has regrets...

This is interesting reading...

Starbucks chairman warns of "the commoditization of the Starbucks experience"
Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz wrote this to CEO Jim Donald earlier this month. The memo's authenticity has been confirmed by Starbucks.
From: Howard Schultz
Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2007 10:39 AM Pacific Standard Time
To: Jim Donald
Cc: Anne Saunders; Dave Pace; Dorothy Kim; Gerry Lopez; Jim Alling; Ken Lombard; Martin Coles; Michael Casey; Michelle Gass; Paula Boggs; Sandra Taylor
Subject: The Commoditization of the Starbucks Experience
As you prepare for the FY 08 strategic planning process, I want to share some of my thoughts with you.
Over the past ten years, in order to achieve the growth, development, and scale necessary to go from less than 1,000 stores to 13,000 stores and beyond, we have had to make a series of decisions that, in retrospect, have lead to the watering down of the Starbucks experience, and, what some might call the commoditization of our brand.
Many of these decisions were probably right at the time, and on their own merit would not have created the dilution of the experience; but in this case, the sum is much greater and, unfortunately, much more damaging than the individual pieces. For example, when we went to automatic espresso machines, we solved a major problem in terms of speed of service and efficiency. At the same time, we overlooked the fact that we would remove much of the romance and theatre that was in play with the use of the La Marzocca machines. This specific decision became even more damaging when the height of the machines, which are now in thousands of stores, blocked the visual sight line the customer previously had to watch the drink being made, and for the intimate experience with the barista. This, coupled with the need for fresh roasted coffee in every North America city and every international market, moved us toward the decision and the need for flavor locked packaging. Again, the right decision at the right time, and once again I believe we overlooked the cause and the affect of flavor lock in our stores. We achieved fresh roasted bagged coffee, but at what cost? The loss of aroma -- perhaps the most powerful non-verbal signal we had in our stores; the loss of our people scooping fresh coffee from the bins and grinding it fresh in front of the customer, and once again stripping the store of tradition and our heritage? Then we moved to store design. Clearly we have had to streamline store design to gain efficiencies of scale and to make sure we had the ROI on sales to investment ratios that would satisfy the financial side of our business. However, one of the results has been stores that no longer have the soul of the past and reflect a chain of stores vs. the warm feeling of a neighborhood store. Some people even call our stores sterile, cookie cutter, no longer reflecting the passion our partners feel about our coffee. In fact, I am not sure people today even know we are roasting coffee. You certainly can't get the message from being in our stores. The merchandise, more art than science, is far removed from being the merchant that I believe we can be and certainly at a minimum should support the foundation of our coffee heritage. Some stores don't have coffee grinders, French presses from Bodum, or even coffee filters.
Now that I have provided you with a list of some of the underlying issues that I believe we need to solve, let me say at the outset that we have all been part of these decisions. I take full responsibility myself, but we desperately need to look into the mirror and realize it's time to get back to the core and make the changes necessary to evoke the heritage, the tradition, and the passion that we all have for the true Starbucks experience. While the current state of affairs for the most part is self induced, that has lead to competitors of all kinds, small and large coffee companies, fast food operators, and mom and pops, to position themselves in a way that creates awareness, trial and loyalty of people who previously have been Starbucks customers. This must be eradicated.
I have said for 20 years that our success is not an entitlement and now it's proving to be a reality. Let's be smarter about how we are spending our time, money and resources. Let's get back to the core. Push for innovation and do the things necessary to once again differentiate Starbucks from all others. We source and buy the highest quality coffee. We have built the most trusted brand in coffee in the world, and we have an enormous responsibility to both the people who have come before us and the 150,000 partners and their families who are relying on our stewardship.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge all that you do for Starbucks. Without your passion and commitment, we would not be where we are today.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

First Four Weeks in the Record Books!

Today was the end of a very exciting first four weeks of operation.
We have been very pleased with the initial response the shop has received. With no advertising at all, we have achieved over $7000 in sales in our first four weeks. That is not enough to be self sustaining, but I think it is very respectable! I would like to thank all of our friends and family who have supported us, as well as our new 'regulars' from the surrounding businesses and area. We can't do this without all of you!

We received a copy of the Mike Boyle show that will be airing this weekend. It was supposed to be an eight minute segment, but they made it a twenty minute segment! We have some friends who own their own company producing television shows and she said a minute of edited video costs $1000 to $1500 for this type of a show. That means we are getting $20,000 to $30,000 of advertising absolutely free, and it airs three times, not once! He has also been talking about us on his radio shows as well, and we have had some customers for lunch who came in because of his radio show... How cool is Mike Boyle???

My art rail came this week, and I will be hanging it tomorrow. Paul Kulik, our first featured artist, will be displaying his artwork on Saturday. We will have his work up for 2-3 months, and he will be rotating in new pieces every 3-4 weeks. I'm looking forward to seeing his amazing panoramas up on the walls...

I bought hundreds of board feet of Padauk, an African exotic hardwood, for use in the shop. I bought most of it from CO Lumber, and they have an employee named Don who came by the shop to see what we were up to. He asked if he could have some Padauk scraps, so I sent him home with an armful of off-cuts. He came in this week and presented me with a very nice Padauk ink pen, that he turned on his lathe out of a piece of my scrap. It is a beautiful pen, and I'll post some photos later when I have a chance. I asked Don to build a lockable display case out of Padauk and we will carry his pens on consignment. I'm looking forward to selling some of his pens for him!

I'm starting to get replies on the emails I sent out to some of the local www.meetup.com groups. I have an event scheduled for Saturday, and another on June 6th. I've had some other groups show interest as well.
Keep em coming!

Time to head home... Everybody have a safe holiday weekend. Don't forget to give thanks for our fellow countrymen who are fighting on our behalf this Memorial Day. I'd especially like to mention my brother Aubrey, who is serving his third tour in Iraq, as well as our neighbor George who is also on his third tour. Lets keep them and all of our troops in our prayers. I've been there and done that, and I'm incredibly grateful and appreciative of their willingness to serve.

God bless,

Monday, May 21, 2007

We are getting used to this...

Today seemed like a really slow day, but it was our fourth highest sales to date, and it was a record setter for Mondays! I think that means we are getting proficient and into a groove... A day like this would have seemed like total chaos 2 or 3 weeks ago.

I sent emails to the group organizers of 12 groups at www.meetup.com and let them know we have a 500 sq ft private meeting room available for free. I received confirmations from two groups that they would like to hold their events here at our shop. That is a 16.7% success rate! I'm happy if I can capture 5-10% of any 'market' we advertise to. I will be sending out more emails to other groups in Colorado Springs. Once I have gone through all of the meetup.com groups, I'll check out listings in Craigs list and other places as well. I think getting some of these groups in here is the key to building our evening sales. Wish us luck...

The Regional Building Dept is just a block or two away and we had an architect come in this afternoon. He walked around and looked at everything and decided we did an excellent job, not only on design, but also on construction and finish work. He took a stack of Ryan's business cards and will probably ask Ryan to bid his future projects. I'll be very happy if Ryan gets some projects as a result of people coming in here. Ryan was a super hero for us, allowing us to have such a nice shop at a cost significantly below the going rates.

Well, I need to finish closing the store and making breakfast burritos for tomorrow (we sold out again...)

take care,

Saturday, May 19, 2007

This week is almost over...

Well, it is 1:05pm on Saturday and we close the store at 2:00. I have to say that it has been another great week. Here are some highlights:

Positive growth every single day (as compared same weekday, prior week)
30% growth for this week as compared to total sales last week.
We had quite a few 'events' in our community room/studio space. We are getting calls or inquiries about reserving the space for future meetings/events daily!

I joined a new photography group and our first meeting (and hopefully, all meetings) will be held here. I sent emails to a number of other Colorado Springs based groups/clubs and offered our space for them to use. Most of these groups meet in the evenings, and increasing evening business is one of my priorities. I'm hoping that they will take me up on it.

We are showing one of our rental houses to a potential buyer tomorrow afternoon. We have put all of our money into the shop, so I no longer have much of a slush fund to support the rental houses. Selling one of them and adding those funds will relieve some of our financial worries regarding how long it will take to become profitable. I think we will be there sooner than expected, but the last thing we need right now is an empty rental house without a slush fund to cover it... I'll be really excited if we can get this house sold!

Gotta run...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Colorado Springs Photography Group

I received an email update from Meetup.com that a new Photography Group has been established here in the Springs. I signed up and offered our meeting room/studio as a meeting place. You can check it out here:

New Banners Going Up

I ordered two of these banners that are 10 feet long by 3 feet high. They are going up on the shopping center sign poles about 20 feet up in the air, out by Pikes Peak Avenue. These should really help pull in the morning commuter crowd! I can't wait to see our 5:30am to 8:00am sales data after the banners have been up for a week or two.

I am very good with Adobe Photoshop, but I have never used Adobe Illustrator. I managed to make this banner artwork, but I can't do anything fancy with it yet. I look forward to learning more about Illustrator!

I'd like to thank all of my Intel buddies that came by this morning. I'm very excited about our new business venture, but seeing you guys this morning made me realize how much I miss working with all of you. There is nothing like being on a 'team' of really talented, exceptional people. You are all missed very much!

Gotta run,
Glod bless everybody!

117 Customers Today!

New Records today...
117 customers, $550 in sales for the day, 15 people had a meeting in our conference room/photography studio, booked two more corporate meetings and a catered coffee service, sold almost 40 sandwiches, sold out of breakfast burritos by 8:30am.

I just finished making another 18 breakfast burritos for tomorrow and now I have to go make another batch of pico de gallo...

Everybody have a great Friday!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

New Records!

Today we set new records for the most in sales, the most # of customers in a day, the most customers between 5:30am and 8:00am, the most customers between 5:00pm and 8:00pm, and our first business meeting in the conference room! We had a planned event for Saturday, but some individuals from the Pikes Peak Work Force Center came over and asked if they could use our studio for a team meeting. I had to run to Sam's club and get tables and chairs on two hours notice! They had 10 people in their meeting and they bought product before the meeting and during a break! Woo Hoo! We have another event in there tomorrow, and they want us to cater lunch for it. That will be about 10 sandwiches, chips, and drinks!

It is 7:00pm and we are open until 8:00pm. We have had 96 sales so far today. I'm keeping my fingers crossed to reach our first 100 customer day. The guys down at the Intellitec vocational school said they would come by just before 8:00. If they do, then we should reach that goal. They have class until 11:00pm and need a final dose of caffeine to get them through...

Just want to drop a few lines for a quick update...
All is good. Nothing earth shattering, but steady increases, and new records pretty much daily! Today's sales have reached 67% of the way to profitability (shop overhead paid, but no money for Tracy and I).

Gotta run...

Friday, May 11, 2007

What a Great Friday!

This has been a really great Friday...
First of all, Tracy and I were on the local Mike Boyle Show. He is the leading restaurant critic for the Denver and Colorado Springs Metropolitan area. He has a television show, as well as numerous radio shows throughout Colorado. We went to the studio today and filmed a segment for Nemo's Coffee, which will be shown on TV in two weeks. Mike was a very charismatic, charming person, if not a little bit ornery! Filming the show was a lot of fun and we look forward to seeing it when it airs. This is the first time Mike has ever done a show for a coffee shop, and he has been doing this for 14 years. We feel very honored and blessed to get this kind of free promotional advertising. We could not afford to do a television commercial, let alone a 20 minute feature on a local television program!

We also have set a new record today for the most customers in a day, and we are still seeing significant growth from day to day. I have been basing our % Sustaining Revenue performance on our total needs and we are averaging about 30% over the first two weeks of operations. I negotiated free rent from November through August when we signed our lease, and I also included $1000 per month in our expenses for AFC (Allowance for Change - in other words, unknowns). If I take out the rent and AFC line items, we are actually achieving about 45% of our needed revenues. That looks much better, but we begin paying rent in September. I don't want to feel like we are doing better than we really are when the rent payments hit...

Our average ticket yesterday was $4.31 and is $4.24 so far today. Our goal is anything over $4.00, so we are very happy with the results. We expected it to not exceed $3.50 until we develop some whole bean coffee regular buyers. We are over $4 without much bulk coffee sales! Woo Hoo!!!

I went to High Rise Coffee Roasters here in town today to pick up some more Chai concentrate. We don't get our coffee there, but he is a distributor for other products we use. The owner's name is Andrew Anderson!! That was interesting (my family in Indiana call me Andy, and my name was supposed to be Andrew Dean Anderson instead of James Dean Anderson II). He has a really cool looking shop, with burlap bags of coffee from all over the world surrounding his coffee roasting equipment. I want to hang some 'coffee' art in the store, meaning I want to get some really cool photos of coffee industry related products and equipment. Andrew agreed to have me come back with studio lights and take some shots in his shop, both of the decor/product and of him operating the roaster. I'm not sure when I will have time to do it, but I'm looking forward to it. I get some cool photos, and he gets free professional promotional photography.

Gotta run... Hope you are all doing well!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

TV on Friday!

One of our new 'regulars' is friends with the local restaurant reviewer. She arranged for Tracy and I to be on his TV show, discussing Nemo's Coffee, our story of how it came to be, and what we have to offer! How awesome is that??? They are going to tape the segment on Friday morning, and I'll find out when it is going to be on television...

Today's sales growth over last Wednesday: 23.2% Average sales ticket $4.02 (we are aiming for anything over $4, so that is good!).

Gotta run...

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Growth Figures

Well, we are pushing two weeks of operations and we are starting to see growth from the surrounding buildings. We will have a person come in, and more people from their building/department/office will show up a couple of hours later. We have averaged 125% day to day growth for the last week. If we continue to average 20% growth per week, we will be profitable in four weeks and we will reach a sustainable revenue (enough to pay all of our personal bills) in seven weeks! I don't expect it to happen that quickly, though. I'm sure our growth rate will taper off as business builds. I am thrilled, though, anyway you look at it. Many businesses take a year or more to become profitable. Just keep us in your prayers, as so many people have to this point. A quick little prayer may seem insignificant at times, but there is nothing that will help our business more so than God's blessing!

We have had more time to devote to marketing now that construction is complete and we are up and running. We have been distributing fliers to some of the surrounding buildings. I'm guessing that we have distributed fliers to only 5% or so of the 18,000 daytime employees within a one mile radius. As people learn about us by word of mouth and by the fliers, I'm sure we will continue to see significant sales growth. We are also going to be in the Entertainment and Gold C coupon books, and we are putting an ad in the Independent, a local newspaper that stays on top of local events, music, art, restaurants, etc. Their next issue is the Summer Guide, which is one of the most popular guides to Colorado Springs 'things to do'. We also have our lighted sign up and operational, and I will have large 10' banners up soon. We are also donating product to some upcoming local charity events, and have begun marketing to the Olympic Training Center.

Well, it is time for me to start closing up shop and getting EVERYTHING clean for Tracy in the morning.

By the way, if you are local, our free WIFI internet service is set up and working. I also put a computer in the cafe for you to use for free... Stop in and see us!

Take care,

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Judo Tournament

So... you may be wondering what a judo tournament has to do with our coffee shop. Well, our boys are in judo at the Olympic Training Center, which is just two blocks from Nemo's. It is our desire to do some heavy marketing to the Olympic Training Center. The OTC sponsored a tournament today and I did some photography for Ed and Tammie Liddie (Ed: US Olympic Coach and 1984 Olympic medalist; Tammie: USA Judo Project Manager). I passed out some Nemo's fliers at the tournament, and spoke to some of the Olympic athletes and offered to do some free studio photo sessions for them.
Here are a couple of shots of Jeff Sato... He won the men's senior division:

...and a shot of Jeff throwing one of his competitors:

I edited these on my laptop, which is not accurate. Please forgive any color shifts or contrast/brightness issues...

Gotta run, Tracy and I are teaching Sunday School tonight.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Sales Growth

OK, so we have only been open for five days. It is a little early to be crunching numbers and talking about sales growth. I have built a budget and determined how much money we need to make in order to cover our overhead and provide ourselves with a modest income. I am very happy to say that we have achieved 22% of our budgeted needs on just our fifth day of operation! We still do not have any signage and have not distributed any fliers or had any advertising. We have reached 22% of our sustaining income on just word of mouth referrals. I am amazed at the response we have had already, and I'm looking forward to more growth as we get some advertising out there!

I have to run, but I just wanted to make a quick entry and thank God for His blessings!