Grabbing A Coffee @ Your Library Not Proving Profitable


Further to last week's discussion on coffee in the library , here's an article about how things are not working out particularly well for several coffee/bakery companies operating in libraries in Illinois.

Owners of the Napolean Bakery in the Naperville Library have yet to break even since establishing their business last fall, and customer levels are falling significantly below their expectations. Library patrons are a different crowd than the latte sippers in big box bookstores it appears.


I gotta admit that I was a proponent for this idea at first, the whole coffee sales in the library thing. But after I reflected on it a bit and spoke to a few people, it makes sense that this sort of thing might not fly as high as I previously thought. After all, just looking at our customers, I see the whole spectrum- doctors and lawyers to tramps and sex offenders. And it's during the winter especially that we get our influx of transients, homeless, unemployed, etc.

Now then, if you're homeless, transient, unemployed, etc, how in the hell ya gonna find enough nickles to rub together for a cup of coffee? We have a set of regulars down in our reading room every morning. Among them you'll find a retired judge, a retired businessman and gambler, and several people who come from goddess-knows-where. Surely the judge and businessman can get coffee from home or anywhere else, the others simply can't afford even a $1.50 for a standard cup o' joe.

There was ALWAYS huge lines @My library when I was at Ohio State. Maybe college students need more coffee?

Yup. We are getting a new bookstore on campus and it will also have a coffee shop. The "good" news is that it will be attached to the library by a causway. Well at least it won't be in the library proper. I'm looking forward to all the new stains on the carpet and the new higher prices for coffee on campus.

The one thing I'll didn't see mentioned in this article is any effort to market the service outside of the library (the closest I saw was one library coffee shop who contacts groups who use the meeting rooms*). One wonders if they'd be more successful if they tried to market the services more, esp. outsideof the library.* If the library my Linux group meets at had a coffee shop and they did this, they'd be sure to make some sales. Many of the groups the meet their bring in coffee and other things. It would be so much eaiser to have it already "on location."

You are lucky yours will be set apart from the library somewhat. Ours is inside our current magazine reading room and the smell of stale acrid coffee just permeates the area. I do enjoy the smell of fresh coffee but having the aroma hang around from open until close (7:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. most days) is just too much. The smell just builds and starts to sour around 10 a.m..

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