Thursday, August 27, 2009

Plans Resubmitted

They went to the city yesterday with 4 days left of free rent.

We're hoping that we can still pull off launching before the end of October.

Please keep us in your prayers. Thanks!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Think We Pass the Muster On This One

From Andrew Hetzel's blog

What's in a Coffee Shop Name?

What should I name my coffee shop?!? It’s one of the most popular questions that I am regularly asked and surfaces with alarming frequency and urgency on online discussion boards like and Specialty Coffee Retailer’s Online Forum. First things first: don’t panic!

The trend in coffee shop names these days from “cutesy” to outright absurd – are you naming a business or a boat? I suggest that rather than come up with the latest coffee pun, consider something that more appropriately captures the essence of your business and tells potential customers what they are likely to expect when they walk through your doors.

Let’s take a look at some of the popular categories of coffee shop names and their representative examples (these are REAL):

Medical Side Effects

* Trembling Cup
* Permanent Addiction
* Jitters (also, Jitter Bean, Jitter Java, Jumpin’ Jitters, etc.)
* Diuretic Delights (okay, so I made that one up)

The Puns

* Bean Around the World
* Daily Grind (also Back to the Grind, Nose to the Grind Stone, Breaking Ground, Sacred Grounds and so on)
* Brewed Awakenings
* Brews Brothers
* He Brews (a Christian Coffee Shop – this one is growing on me)

The Crowd that Misspells Espresso with an “X”

* Premium Expresso
* Heavenly Expresso

The Unfortunately Named

* Mud Puddle
* River Brew
* Java Trout Expresso Internet Bar & Gifts (I attempted to contact this company and congratulate them on their naming achievement, but alas, they were out of business or perhaps operating under a different name)

All of the frustration associated with naming a business is probably the result of competing in an escalating battle of wits; let’s think about this rationally, consider:

* Who are your customers? With proper business planning, this one should come rolling off your toungue. Are your customers morning commuters? Students? Couples out for an evening of entertainment? Office workers? All of the above? Knowing who your customer is will help you to understand how your name will be perceived.
* What is your business identity? What do you want your customers to think about when they read your name? (coffee – doh!) we’ll get to that in a moment: IN ADDITION TO COFFEE, what do you want your customers to think about? This is a question only you can answer: is it an emotion? a place? a memory? There are plenty of words other than “bean” or “cup” or “java” that you can use to get your point across.
* Now we can tell them it’s coffee. You should always keep the image of coffee present so that customers can quickly identify what you do. Picture driving by a business at 40 MPH and seeing the name or logo – in the blink of an eye it should be readily apparent that you serve coffee as a primary business. On the topic of that logo make certain that the logo is clear, not overly elaborate and has a crisp and easily identified color scheme.
* Make it unique – Unless it is your intention to masquerade as part of some large chain (such as a coffee shop I once visited named “Starbean,” written in bold green and white text), you’re going to want a brand name that can be uniquely associated with your company and product. Do a little search on Google for “Daily Grind.” Go ahead – I’ll wait. At the time of writing this article there are over 1.4 million mentions of the words Daily and Grind, and nearly 700,000 for the phrase “Daily Grind”; I can identify about 150 unique listings that are coffee shops or other coffee and tea related businesses. How will your business possibly be identified, recognized or remembered through all of that noise and confusion? Also consider possible legal setbacks to having such a similar name; Daily Grind-A is not going to be very happy when Daily Grind-B opens up down the street and will probably have something to say about (or, more likely, their lawyer will do the actual talking). Always have your attorney research your prospective name(s) for possible infringement on another’s trademarks or business names – you can do a cursary search through the US Patent and Trademark Office website and the corporation or business division of your Secretaries of State offices.

Oh, there’s one more category that I failed to mention above:

Popular Culture and Literature Names

* Bean Me Up
* Hill of Beans
* and Starbucks

Thursday, August 20, 2009

So I Didn't Set Myself Up for Disappointment - and it Worked.

So the architect was correct. The city has to justify its existence. Got an e-mail from the city. IOW: "Planning and Zoning - Approved;" "Fire Status - Approved;" Building Status - Disapproved." Round 2.

11 more days of free rent anyway.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Java Journey will be a “Third Place” and “Social Condenser” -or- The Mars Hill Approach Continues

Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean." (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.) – Acts 17:19-21

The Cheers song has been overused for illustrative purposes, but for good reason. The part of the lyrics that states “You wanna go where people know, people are all the same, You wanna go where everybody knows your name…” is, without question, resonant to a majority. “Cheers” (the fictional tavern itself) is a “social condenser.” It is a “third place.”

Below is an excerpt from A Multi-Site Church Road Trip (Zondervan 2009) edited by Geoff Surratt, Greg Ligon and Warren Bird. “Third place” is very well defined.

Ray Oldenburg is credited with coining the term “third place” in his book The Great Good Place. A third place is somewhere outside the first two spaces in our life: work and home…

Ray Oldenburg believes that bars, coffee shops, general stores, and other third places are central to developing a vital community. Some call such places “social condensers” – places where community is developed, cohesion is retained, and a sense of identity is created. In the business world, the third place concept has become a buzzword for retailers as a “place to aspire to become.”

Oldenburg lists the following eight characteristics of third places:

1. They are located on “neutral” ground.
2. They are “levelers” where rank and status don’t matter.
3. Conversation is a main activity.
4. They are easy to access and accommodating.
5. They have a core group of influential regulars.
6. They have a low profile instead of being showy.
7. The mood is playful.
8. They feel like a home away from home.

Ed Stetzer, president of research with LifeWay Research, in a February 2008 study conducted for Cornerstone Knowledge Network, asked, “What kind of places do the unchurched like to come to?”…

According to the survey, the reason why people choose particular locations to meet with their friends is because these places are relaxing, casual, and fun. When asked to describe in their own words design features of the kind of place where they’d like to meet a friend, responders mentioned a quiet environment, comfortable seating, and a spaciousness and openness.
This is precisely what drives the vision that Teena and I share, along with a “core group influential regulars.” Our design is purposeful so that folks will walk into the place to meet a friend, of just sit comfortably. Our mission is stated as being a place which: “provides hope and restoration to the hurting and broken by sharing Christ's story, showing His love and by empowering the restored to serve others.” We believe deeply that the only way to do this is to gain a trust and a rapport with fellow human beings – and the means to establish that is provided by an environment that maintains “a low profile instead of being showy.”

We grow more and more excited each day.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Plans Dropped Off

The Architect completed the plans with the details requested by the city. I dropped the required 5 sets off Thursday morning. When he handed them to me, he gave me a heads-up about what the city seems obligated to do (being elected/assigned folks). "It most likely will be rejected at first" says he. "I've never seen anything fly through in one try."

It takes wisdom in knowing how to follow up. Do we become pests if we call too much? Do we risk the left hand and right hand not communicating if we lay back? We have 3 weeks left of free rent, but are not allowed to build anything until the city says "ok." I'm looking for heart here since we are non-profit and dependent on donations and volunteers. But reality and a few places in a book I read often suggests that it's not to be expected.

The last word used there has been a lesson in faith for us. The depth of faith nearly always challenges our "expectations." Everything to this point has clearly been a result of divine design. The reason we can say that is because almost nothing we imagined has taken place. Yet, the development and process that has led us to this present point is far superior to anything we could have envisioned or schemed.

Thanks for your prayers. Continue to pray for patience and resources. Feel free to contact us if you have questions or would like to support us.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

One More Month of Free Rent

Looks as though we may run into September and part of October. We have an architect working to help us finish the "mechanical" (plumbing/electricity) portions of our plans for submission to the city. We can't start putting things in or up until they have been approved.
We are still tearing away at old stuff. The biggest challenge has been scraping away nearly 40 years of floor crud. Since we want to restore the original slab to a stained/polished look, we've worked extremely hard at peeling (actually "chipping") away the layers: Indoor/outdoor carpet on top of adhesive on top of latex paint on top of oil based paint on top of adhesive. We've had lots of advise on the best way to do it, but we've found that a heat gun and a sharp scraper are the most thorough.
We have had 2 people donate significant amounts toward the build out. If you would like to help financially - your gift would be tax deductible. Just send me a private e-mail using "javajourney (at) embarqmail (dot) com." (Be sure to remove the spaces and replace the symbols). We would be very grateful.