Monday, December 6, 2010

Coffee Time

Over the recent holidays, my wife and I visited Kansas City. Thanksgiving Thursday we before we went over to her family for the day, we stopped in the local Starbucks for coffees. The store was slammed - huge lines of people trying to get their coffees and some breakfast. I noticed that less than a block away there was a Dunn Brothers Coffee location - but it was closed.

The next day before we left, we stopped in the Dunn Brothers rather than Starbucks. I told the owner behind the counter that we were surprised he was closed Thanksgiving, especially since Starbucks was open.

He remarked that he didn't know that the Starbucks was open, and that he took three days off a year, and Thanksgiving was one of them.

I bring up this story for two reasons. First, if you are a block away from a competitor on a very busy day is it worth being closed? I do not want to minimize the fact that this small business owner gets three days off a year (and a coffee shop opens early every day), so if he were open on Thanksgiving (and Christmas), that would be one less day he is open.

Second, how could he not have checked whether his competitor was open on these days? At worst he could have passed by the shop just to see what was going on, and noticed the cars lined up at Starbucks.

Finally, here is an opportunity for a small business owner - put a sign out at the street saying fresh coffee and we are open (and do the same with early morning opening for Black Thursday, say at 4am). Then close at noon those days. I bet he would be way ahead for the overall weekend, and the marketing cost: couple signs.

Enjoy your holiday, but don't forget to pry some of those hard earned $ from your customers during the holiday season!

No comments: