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Pen Art – Phoenix Illustrator

I posted a link to Ken Jacobsen’s site, PenArt.com, several months ago (just before our site crashed and we lost a few posts). I’m posting it again because I felt like Ken had such talent and a great online portfolio.

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13 Comments

  1. Would that type of “chain” kill independent culture? There is a group called the Indie Cafe Alliance that does just that — lets independents buy together to increase purchasing power so they can get the same great deals as the bigger guys.

    It is a great group so any locals in AZ that are not aware of it should check it out. They have everything from music to paper goods and equipment.

    ..be bold

  2. It could kill the independent culture, but frankly let’s look at the benefits: Innovation. Arizona’s coffee shop owners don’t know how to innovate. At least, a large number of them don’t. Pooling resources sounds like the best way to do that, to me at least.

  3. Why not force them to concentrate on what’s important to their success? That is the quality of the products they offer, mainly coffee. With so few truly understanding the intricacies of their core product, no number of Holiday gimmicks will help them to get that right.

  4. That’s pretty much why I recommended the idea of merging. Maybe pulling together a few mildly successful coffee shops, and sharing talent would make this happen.

  5. economies of scale…you have to love the concept.

    the independents could use it to their advantage in terms of paper goods, advertising…that sort of thing.

    beans, no way. what i want from the individual houses is to savor their choices, not taste the same coffees across the board.

    still, the houses could pick and choose which products to go in on together. i’ve done this for drugstores to home builders and it works.

  6. Or be a disaster times five or three or however many owners have merged.

    With the sheer number of differences in coffee, one good quality roaster could supply every coffeehouse in a concentrated area with a coffee or blend unique to each particular shop. It’s difficult to savor low quality coffee just because it’s different. But you first need to recognize quality before this is possible.

  7. I had no idea this would be such a contentious issue. Wow. Anyways, my main point still holds.

    Question: Does a coffee shop have to have more than quality coffee to succeed?

  8. Answer: Yes, but quality in the core product of a coffee shop (coffee) is a start. The proper handling, preparation and service of the product is also important. Knowledge is key and with all the first rate free instruction just a Google click away, the only excuse is utter laziness or a complete disregard for the customer or both.

    I visited a shop that has gotten some play on this site and the forums recently. I was invited behind the bar to help diagnose problems with the espresso extraction. The things they didn’t know, the mistakes they are making from beginning to end in the drink prep is appalling. Complete amateurs. But make no mistake about it, they are very adept when it comes to taking your hard earned money. There is no great mystery, no voodoo, no magic or secret handshake to perfecting espresso/coffee. Just a desire to learn, do some research and take pride in your craft.

    That’s it – peace – I’m outta here!

  9. Wow….where to start on this one. Quality. Yep, quality. I agree that if your a coffee house, quality should be a top concern. Who defines quality though. If the coffee and espresso being served is good, but not great, are we to say that this place is crap. If the owners haven’t graduated into a quality product yet but the cafe gets a lot of action, is the place a dive? If cafe “A” serves great coffee but gets little action, and cafe “B” serves a decent cup but is doing great business, who’s more successful? I think that as time goes on the cafes that are really important will last and the rest will fade away. That’s why things like the Barista Jam will be important. It will help increase the quality in the local coffee houses while building some community amonst the owners and barista’s.

  10. Great article Larry. I agree with that 100%. My only question is what’s the correct way to go about it. I’m sure there’s right ways and wrong ways. Great topic though.

  11. Larry says:

    Well, enlighten us then…

    Wow…..
    My postings are not meant to create negative debates. I’m just wondering if there is a right way or wrong way to do it. If we go up to owners and say their coffee and/or espresso sucks, do you think it will be well recieved. Do you think they’ll have a “come to Jesus” moment and suddenly change. That’s why I said earlier that the Barista Jam can be so helpfull. It could help them look at quality in a positive way. I’m not claiming to be an expert. I’m just asking the question on which way will help better the cause. Larry I respect you and your product, I’m just posing the question on how to do it.