Local coffee shops are individual, independent establishments, each with its own personality. These little gems can be nestled anywhere in a community and have a lot going for them over the “big names”.
Fresh (and sometimes local) food
Most local coffee houses are small and have a limited food selection. However, visitors can be assured that what is available has been freshly made. Small coffee shops bake new offerings daily or every other day, and even offer “day old” items at a discount. Sometimes local coffee shops partner with other local businesses to offer baked goods, hand made items, and more from artisans in the area.
Adorning the walls of many independently-owned coffee shops are unique works of art created by local talents. The shop effectively becomes a showcase for amazing art, while the art itself enhances the atmosphere of the shop. This is a win-win situation, since the artist gets a place to show off and sell some of his or her artwork for a period of time, and the coffee shop gains recognition by participating in the local art scene. Taking the time to browse amazing paintings and photos can add a little enlightenment to a morning coffee run.
Fun food & drink specials
Pumpkin spice in fall and peppermint at Christmas appear in just about every café and eatery. But local coffee shops aren’t bound by chain or franchise rules and can offer whatever specials they choose! If a manager or employee is feeling inventive, they may stir up a new drink that no one has tried before (like an Oreo Espresso Shake!) and offer it to patrons as a short-term special. Heat waves can bring fun tropical smoothies; snow storms may spawn a special, snowball-shaped treat in the dessert case. Without the restrictions of a “big name”, local shops have the freedom to be more creative with their selection, giving new and seasoned patrons a surprise.
Intimate business/customer relationship
Running into a big-name chain coffee shop and standing in line with dozens of others impatiently waiting for the morning pick-me-up takes the intimacy out of the business/customer relationship. Often the same people aren’t working behind the counter from morning to morning, or are hourly employees who aren’t thrilled about having to serve coffee starting at 5am. Local shops, however, often have a small and dedicated employee base. These employees—and the managers, as well—have the opportunity to get to know the regulars. This personalizes the coffeehouse experience and makes going out for coffee that much more friendly. Having a personal relationship with customers also allows the business to response quickly and accurately to customer feedback.
The personality and intimacy of small, locally-owned coffee shops puts them a cut above the average chain. With creativity, eclectic atmosphere, and unique selection, why go for coffee anywhere else?