Five Reasons to Support Your Indie Coffee Shop

It’s Indie Coffee Shop Day on Friday, April 18, 2014, and so we want to urge everyone to visit a local independent coffee shop on that day. It would be even better if you continued the tradition more frequently, checking out different indie shops in your city.

Here are five reasons to support your local indie coffee shop, regardless of the day.

1. They contribute to the local economy.

Caffé Bene 1611 Broadway New York, NY 10019

Caffé Bene 1611 Broadway New York, NY 10019

When you buy something at a national chain, like a big box store or mega-food franchise, only 13 cents of every dollar stays in your local economy. But when you spend money at your local small business, 40 cents of every dollar remains. If you want to boost your local economy, buy local whenever you can.

2. They’re artisans.

The baristas at your local coffeehouses learn how to properly create their coffee. They’re not just squeezing espresso syrups out of tubes or pressing a button on a dispensing machine. They learn how to properly grind the beans and pour the espresso. There’s a technique to it, and it takes some practice. I know some baristas who can tell if an espresso will taste bitter or not by how it pours.

3. They’re an ideal “third place.”

In his book, The Great Good Place Ray Oldenburg says that third places — a place that is not home and not work — are important for civil society, community, and civic engagement. A coffee shop makes an excellent third place. You can pop in for a quick pick-me-up before work, a calming beverage afterward, a quiet place to read, a place to have a meeting, or to get some work done. You can do all those things at home or work, but a coffee shop is a nice change of scenery.

4. They’re often family owned.

It’s a rare coffee house where the owner isn’t behind the counter, taking orders, making drinks, and cleaning up. There are a few, but even then, there’s a family member nearby, or the owner comes in every evening to tally up the total and make sure everything is ordered.

5. They’re often committed to the environment and fair trade.

The place where you’ll often see the biggest push for recycling and reducing, and buying fair trade and sustainable products, are independent coffee shops. They have recycling bins, they purchase recycled products, they make their grounds available for composters, and they ensure that their suppliers make a living wage. Corporate chain coffee does some of this too, but I see the local shops flogging environmental this and fair trade that like the world will end if you throw your paper cup in the trash.

Why do you visit your favorite local coffee shop? Leave a comment and let us hear from you.

Photo credit: Neo_II (Flickr, Creative Commons)

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New Indie Coffee Shop Day Logo

We have a new logo for Indie Coffee Shop Day, thanks to the Marketing Mercenary, Jerry “J.R.” Renkenberger.

Indie Coffee Shop Day logo

Big thanks to Jerry Renkenberger, the Marketing Mercenary in Kokomo, IN, for the great logo.

Jerry just emailed me on Saturday and said “Hey, I’ve got an idea for your logo,” and sent me a quick mockup. One quick color change later, and we were all set.

Jerry is a fellow marketer, based up in Kokomo, Indiana, and I’ve known him for several years. And now this is our first time working together. Thanks, Jerry!

Remember, Indie Coffee Shop Day is Friday, April 18, the day before Record Store Day. It’s the day people should forgo Big Corporate Coffee and support their local independent coffee shops. (Also, if you want to visit another indie coffee shop after you’ve hit your local record stores the next day, feel free.)

Indie Coffee Shop Day to be Held Friday, April 18, 2014

(Indianapolis, Ind.)—It’s one of the small pleasures of life. Sitting in a coffee shop with your favorite beverage, meeting with friends, reading a book, or getting some work done. For many people, a regular coffee shop is their home-away-from-home, or office-away-from-office. Independent coffee shops are often more highly prized because their presence in a neighborhood is often an anchor and meeting place.

So Indianapolis entrepreneur Erik Deckers created Indie Coffee Shop Day as a way to celebrate independent coffeehouses, and to encourage more people to find a favorite indie shop.

“Independent coffee shops contribute a lot to the local community,” said Deckers. “They add a flavor to their neighborhood, serving as an anchor point for people to connect.”

Indie Coffee Shop Day will be observed on Friday, April 18, the day before Record Store Day. All anyone needs to do to observe it is to forgo their traditional “corporate coffee” and buy from a local independent coffee shop instead.

“It’s wonderful timing,” said Deckers. “Record Store Day celebrates independent record stores and the rich musical heritage of vinyl records. Indie Coffee Shop Day is about celebrating the rich heritage of coffee and the shops that support Fair Trade coffee, single origin coffee, as well as the local roasters who provide the beans for our local shops.”

There are economic benefits of buying local as well. For every dollar spent at a local, independent business, $.40 of that money stays in the community. But every dollar spent at a large chain whose headquarters are in another city, only $.13 stays in the local community.

“Entrepreneurs and small business owners who have business meetings in coffee shops should be meeting in the local shops, not corporate ones,” said Deckers. “If you depend on the local community for your business, you should also support the local community.”

Deckers says that even small chains can be called independent, as long as their shops are local.

“Two of my favorite coffee shops in Indianapolis and Louisville — Hubbard & Cravens and Heine Brothers — have more than one shop in their areas. But I would still call them independent, because their stores and their money stay in the community.”

For more information, or to contribute a story, visit http://www.IndieCoffeeShopDay.com.

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