We are told from early childhood that we should set life goals and always strive for them. Celebrities that have been in the spotlight as of late have said quotes us normal people try to take to heart, telling us to never stop reaching for our goals because they are achievable.
What is my life goal? Aside from being on The Tonight Show and doing a lip-sync battle against Jimmy Fallon (no idea how I’ll ever pull that one off), my big goal for the last six years has been to become a best-selling author and own my own coffee shop to run the way I please.
The best-selling author is tough. You have to find a way to break into that scene, find an agent who strives to get your work to the best places. Factors play a part in every single aspect and if the factors don’t quite work out in your favor, you may never make it big.
The owning a coffee shop is tough, too. Small business start-ups become harder and harder with each passing day.
But I have had the taste in my mouth for the last month.At the end of July, my old coworker/friend Evan sent me a text saying that Peet’s Coffee and Tea would be closing all but two locations in the state of Michigan as of August 8. That meant the coffee shop I have nurtured and loved for the last seven years would be no more.
They did not give Peet’s Coffee even a year to stabilize itself. Not that I thought they ever would; the execution of the Caribou-Coffee-To-Peet’s was half-assed at best and I didn’t believe any of the regular clientele would return. Seven weeks of no coffee shop meant everyone found a new routine. And if they tried out the “new” old shop and didn’t like it, they would stick with what they taught themselves in those seven weeks.
It takes nine months to grow a human child and it apparently also takes that long to pull the plug on a coffee chain’s chances in a new state.
I forewarned some friends/old regulars of the Caribou Coffee (and before!) days, who have always wanted to own their own coffee shop, about the closure and they told me they were on it.
Days passed without hearing anything from anyone. News reports came out about the closing of Peet’s with a casual mention of four separate parties inquiring about the location.
On my way to an appointment, I took a call from one half of my coffee-interested friends giving me some updates about their situation and what they had in mind. An hour-long phone call with her had me feeling giddy, excited, ready for the idea of a local coffee shop that catered to its clientele in ways still unimagined.
And the comment came up about whether I would still be interested in managing it. I told her we could discuss down the road, if things ever progressed that far. They still had not secured the location, and that was the biggest part.
I discussed it with my fiancee and we found ourselves talking about the possibilities and what we would do; after all, he ran my Caribou store for nine months when there was no manager (back in 2007). We talked about themed nights, gaming nights, extended hours during Finals weeks, open mic nights, style of the interior, drinks to serve, and the ideas made us drunk with excitement.
We made a potential time and place to meet and discuss with them about our ideas and theories, but no news came from the other half, the one doing the prying on the location itself. For if they couldn’t get this particular location, they did not want to risk the venture.
Flash forward to today when the other half sent an email with an update, stating that the landlord of the strip mall has a national tenant in mind because they can charge more for rent and not have to worry about an insecure venture potentially failing. (Think: Tim Horton’s)
Business-speaking, this makes complete sense. You want reliability. You want to make sure you can count on the business to pay for itself and keep you profitable. With how poorly Peet’s fared (or fared in the eyes of its German Investment Company that calls the shots), wanting something secure is the best solution.
But it infuriates me. Visions of running a coffee shop, recreating the homey feel of Caribou, and persuading old coworkers who just lost their coffee jobs to return and work for me burst into flames.
I am irrationally angry at Peet’s for screwing this opportunity up by failing so soon after launch. There was never a guarantee that my friends would land the lease to the shop. There was never a guarantee that I would readily leave my “big girl job” and return to the coffee shop life. There was never a guarantee that even if all this happened, it wouldn’t fail. And this update doesn’t mean that they are out of the running just yet. But it’s easy to spell doom rather than focus on the positives.
Even if it was just visions of grandeur, they were visions that kept me clinging onto reaching that life goal. Visions that kept me reaching and wanting and hoping.
It wouldn’t be life without a few road bumps, right?