In 2009 I had the bright idea of opening up a coffee shop. But, let's be honest it had been brewing (no pun intended) for quite some time. The truth is that has been my life's ambition. So I followed my heart and opened up Coffee House and Bistro. The name Smoffee's was originally a mix between smoothies and coffee, but every time we envisioned the name we always saw the name with an apostrophe so we kept it and put it in the name. One day a customer came in and said I know what the name means... Shawn and Mary's coffee… We were like oh yeah... My wife and I got a loan out and purchased a building in the downtown district of a small town.
The dream was born and we soon began taking this one-time grocery story and turning it into something we would like to go to. With the help of some good friends, and my kids we took something in serious need of help and made it a coffee shop. The coffee shop became enormously famous, we opened up several other locations, paid off all of our debt, moved to Hawaii retired, and lived happily ever after... or at least that is how it was supposed to turn out.
In reality, it was nothing of the sorts. From about 2003 to about 2010 I ran this website CafeProducts.com. Cafe Products was at that time an online equipment and furniture retailer. We also helped coffee shops plan their buildout from the ground up. In 2008 I noticed a drastic downturn in the coffee shop equipment industry so decided to get a job where I could continue to run the current business and still have other money coming in. I took a night auditors job at a hotel. It was perfect. I was able to pull up my laptop and work on the websites, handle orders... etc while still working at my job. In 2009 I started to get the itch to finally start a coffee shop. So I spent about six months putting together a business plan that I could present to my local economic developer to get a loan to start a cafe.
The idea was simple really, I would sell specialty coffees, smoothies, simple sandwiches and a daily special. I was deeply inspired by a place called Meads cafe in Wichita, Kansas. In 2010 after six grueling months of planning and working with the local economic developers we finally got the money to start things.. well sort of.. about 10k short of what I asked for. That was the first of the troubles... (To Be Continued)