The Buzz

How does a business (or a church, for that matter) generate ‘buzz’, that positive reverberating acknowledgment of its existence in a community? Can’t say that I know. But for the past couple of weeks from sources I cannot now all recall I’ve heard tell of a new coffee shop in town, and I’ve been told that it was top notch.

I was there today. Nearly all day. The advance billing was not out of line.

Over the past five years I’ve watched all but a couple independent coffee shops in Bradenton bow to economic pressure and go out of business. Those who have survived have done so by radically abandoning in some way their commitment to being a coffee shop. I’m not a Starbucks hater. I like Starbucks. But I’m also a huge fan of the distinctive character of independent shops. I’m sad to see them come and go.

A while back I watched as a ‘Barnies’ coffee shop opened, existed for a few months, and then shut down. It never looked appealing, I was never drawn in, and by the time I finally determined to visit, it was out of business.

Out of the ashes, in the same location, has arisen ‘Lov A Da Coffee‘. I don’t know if it will last, but everything about this place indicates the owners have done things with the intention of making it work.

I was at Lov A Da working (I work a lot in coffee shops) between an early morning hospital visit and a noon lunch nearby. In between I needed to take my car to a mechanic which was also in the area. After my lunch appointment, the car was not done, so I moved a 4:00 o’clock appointment to Lov A Da and simply spent the rest of the day there, consuming in the process three cups of coffee, one caramel cappuccino, and one Café Americana (I think that is what it was called). I had plenty of time to evaluate the place.

What can I say? The only fault to me is the odd and difficult-to-say name.

The space is large, divided into two rooms. One room has a traditional coffee shop feel, lots of tables, a service counter, and sounds of grinding beans and steaming milk. The other has the feel of a large family room, carpeted, with a dozen or more stuffed chairs and coffee tables. It has as well a well appointed stage for live music. This room is already filling a niche for a comfortable meeting space. I sat there with my 4:00 o’clock appointment, and with nearly 20 others in small groups doing the same, he and I spoke as comfortably as if we were alone. It was wonderful.

As one who lives on his laptop, the first thing I do when entering a new place is scout out the outlets for my power adaptor. This place is loaded with outlets, most discreetly hidden on the bottom sides of the tables, a clever, handy, and aesthetically pleasing solution. For those without laptops, there are a selection of computers scattered around the space, both PC and Mac. (I’m told that the owner is a Mac guy. Of course he is.)

The background music was alternative rock when I first got there, but it soon changed to real (not ‘smooth’!) jazz. It fit.

Every cup of coffee is freshly ground and brewed to order. My cups were excellent as was the service. After my first cup, I asked the barista, “Are refills free?” Very pleasantly he replied, “This one can be.”

I understand that a coffee shop, where a guy may sit for four hours or more, can’t have a free refill policy. I’m okay with that. So, I insisted on paying for my second cup. Later, he brought me a third cup, free. A cheap way to buy a customer’s favor!

The business here was brisk. Very brisk for a store that has only been open for six weeks and has yet to have a sign installed at the road.

Someone there told me that this coffee shop used to exist as ‘Java Moon’ further down the road. The contrast between what that was and what this is could not be more striking. I tried to visit that shop a couple of times, but felt like a CEO in a tattoo shop. It just wasn’t comfortable. Whatever muse led the owner to relocate and redesign, it was a good one.

This, then, is the secret of ‘buzz’: replant, relocate, rename, remake yourself, and do it with a deep commitment to quality. Of course, what is ‘buzz’ other than friends inviting friends. That drives coffee shops as well as churches.

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7 thoughts on “The Buzz

  1. Gus/Adri

    I lov-a da coffee hubby just brought me, first of the morning. And neither of us is Italian/New Yorker.We'll have to try this new place; thanks for the review.–ae

  2. TulipGirl

    Will have to check it out. . . I know ThinkTank has been considering a new venue due to space/noise considerations.I'm interested in hearing what people think about this: "This, then, is the secret of 'buzz': replant, relocate, rename, remake yourself, and do it with a deep commitment to quality. Of course, what is 'buzz' other than friends inviting friends."The "fun" part of my job includes some of the internal marketing strategies where I work… As you alluded to, the "buzz" that gets one person to recommend us to a friend. Much of that is linked with what is considered either good customer service or "relationship building." For me, I do genuinely care about the sweet or quirky people with whom we do business. (But I still smile and remember to call by name the ones I wish would leave and never return… *blush*)

  3. Randy Greenwald

    That service, using a name, remembering, all of that is a part of what has made SBX standout.I think this place might have some merit as a venue. Check it out… but perhaps check it out on a Wednesday night! I'd be happy to be sent on a reconnaissance mission…

  4. TulipGirl

    Lov A-da Coffee finished setting up their networking room today in time for ThinkTank to meet. . . and it was a unanimous decision to meet there in the future. Thanks for letting us know about it!

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