The other day, I had a morning meeting in the NoHo neighborhood in Manhattan. Knowing that I would want a cup of coffee prior, I left a bit earlier than usual to stop into my normal haunt in that neighborhood: the La Colombe on Lafayette. I left the Broadway-Lafayette stop, walked a few blocks, and opened the door to a throng of people. The place was packed, and I was not about to wait in that line for a slightly-above-average cup of coffee.
So what to do? I did a quick Google search for coffee spots between my location and the meeting, knowing for sure that I’d have to settle for subpar coffee. I found a spot only a block away on Great Jones that had solid reviews and decided to stop in. I’m glad I did.
Darkstar Coffee & Espresso is one of my new favorite spots in the city. It’s a sister coffee bar to the next door audiophile store (full of high-end headphones), and they use that to their advantage. Walking in, I heard the beautiful notes of jazz played through a tube amplifier setup. The gentleman behind the counter was courteous, knowledgeable, and personable. Counter Culture beans. My cappuccino was delicious.
And I couldn’t stop thinking about the crowd at La Colombe just a block away. How many people in that crowd would enjoy Darkstar just as much? How many people would enjoy it more? DarkStar, by comparison, was empty. I found out from conversing with the barista that they’d been open well over a year. No crowd. No throng of people. Better experience, better product.
They have those God-awful punch loyalty cards. I’m sure they do minimal marketing of some form. But other than that, how does a small business owner in a market like New York get the word out? Word of mouth is the primary channel, obviously.
If nothing else, this thinking has made me even more bullish on what we’re building at Exeq. I’m grateful for an opportunity to build technology that impacts the way we spend as consumers…and the success of fantastic businesses like Darkstar.
If you’re ever in NoHo, check it out. It’s great. And if you see me in the corner, say hi.