I have a confession. I used to work as a barista for a popular coffee shop franchise. While it was awful at first, I eventually grew to like working there. As for the coffee, not so much. Not that it’s bad — I’m just not a coffee person. And yes, people have wondered how I can sell a product I can’t appreciate but that’s a whole other discussion for another time.
But you know what I did love? The community. And I’m not just referring to co-workers. The customers themselves were awesome!
I remember one customer who brought pizza whenever she dropped by. We treated her like any other customer. But when we took our aprons off, she was a friend. And we baristas shared meals with her as we would with any other friend.
East Parker Coffee one day before their grand opening.
Coffee shops play an important role in community building. They’re watering holes where people connect. They’re workstations for those who can’t be tethered to an office space.
East Parker Coffee fans enjoying their cup of joe on a fine morning.
East Parker Coffee believes in this. In a world where coffee has become a common commodity, they firmly believe in coffee shops serving a greater purpose.East Parker Coffee firmly believes in coffee shops serving a greater purpose. Click To Tweet
The Story of East Parker Coffee
East Parker Coffee is a new business, only opening its doors in October 2017. At the helm of operations stand Chris and Susan Demers. The husband-and-wife team serves coffee as well as an assortment of sandwiches to their growing customer base.
Living in the small town of Aledo, Texas for 15 years, the couple had dreamed of opening a shop in their area. While both had their respective careers at the time, things slowly started falling into place.
Their kids went off to college. And the owner of their favorite coffee shop was all set to retire. It was at this moment, I think, when the Demers decided to buy the equipment, take on the lease, and rebrand the business to East Parker Coffee.
Your Typical Coffee Shop, Only Different
On paper, East Parker Coffee is just like any average coffee shop. They serve coffee (their cold brews are quite popular), teas, soups, sandwiches, and baked goods.
Nothing beats ice-cold coffee on a hot day.
But then again, their active community sets them apart from the competition. In a way, their store feels more like an extension of your home. The owners are receptive to feedback and suggestions. Coffee and teas are prepared to your exact specifications.
Baristas have even gotten to know the standing orders of regular customers and start preparing them the second they walk through their doors.
Their space is large and littered with tables and chairs conducive to business meetings or chit chats with friends. They even have sitting areas designed to look like living rooms just so everyone feels comfortable.
East Parker Coffee has cozy little nooks for bookworms and casual conversations.
The shop operates with the community in mind. The Demers hope it will be a place where people meet and spend time together. As Susan puts it:
We have a strong motivation to make this a favorite place for the community. - Susan Demers Click To Tweet
“Chris and I have a strong motivation to make this a favorite place for the people in our community. Their favorable comments keep us going.”
They have been actively engaging with the community. Most recently, East Parker Coffee concluded a photo contest for residents of Aledo, Texas that highlights their hometown.
Voting for the East Parker Coffee Community Photography Contest
Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
While East Parker Coffee has only been in operation for a couple of months, the Demers quickly realized they too lack what every new business owner lack: experience.
“Our challenges have been lack of experience. We knew the coffee and sandwich businesses only as customers of many other locations.”
East Parker Coffee baristas hard at work.
But they have not allowed that to stop them. They knew they had to make some adjustments in order to make it.
“We have overcome them by seeking out experts in the field and taking their advice. We are continuing to learn and grow.”
East Parker Coffee and PrintPlace
East Parker Coffee asked PrintPlace to print promotional stickers for their business.
East Parker Coffee recently collaborated with PrintPlace to create their custom stickers.
The stickers have been amazingly popular with the high school and college set. - Susan Demers Click To Tweet
“The stickers have been amazingly popular with the high school and college set. This age group loves to put stickers on their school notebooks, water glasses, and planners. We give away the stickers as a form of free publicity.”
Susan Demers found the experience surprisingly uncomplicated.
“Working with PrintPlace was easy. I uploaded my sticker design online and picked up the stickers at the Arlington, Texas location.”
Supporting Local Businesses
It’s important for us to continue supporting local businesses if we want to have places we can gather as a community. I know It’s harder and harder to compete with the big chains. But I’d like to think there’s still room for smaller, independent players to operate. And so does Susan.
You can have a unique, non-cookie cutter experience if you seek out the independent shops. Click To Tweet
“It’s really challenging for the “little guys” to compete with the big chains, but you can have a unique and non-cookie cutter experience if you seek out the independent shops.”
East Parker Coffee baristas celebrating their birthdays in the shop.
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