Next door to my office building is a coffee shop. It is called The Sultan Cafe and features Turkish coffee and in the evenings they break out the Hooka, Turkish water pipes. Despite this and their full menu of panini sandwiches and Mediterranean favorites, it’s a pretty simple shop. I know the name, but I still call it Mike’s Coffee Shop.
Mike is there six days per week. His wife comes in to help a little each day, but for the most part it is just Mike. He has made simple decisions along the way that will help him continue to be successful. It’s the simplicity of it that impresses me.
- Mike got to the neighborhood before most of us. Almost a year ago, The Sultan Cafe opened. My building was still under construction and the one across the street was even further from completion. Of course, Mike made sure we each received a card for a free cup of coffee when we did arrive.
- The first time I went into Mike’s, he greeted me with a handshake and introduced himself. Every subsequent time, he says, “hello, Mr. Adam.” I asked Mike whether remembering the name is part of his strategy and he said, “sure, but it’s also just me.” Classy.
- The Hooka makes sense. It creates some word of mouth and makes his place a destination. And it gives the Sultan Cafe the aura of culture. Even if you never see someone smoking the Hooka, it’s an inviting atmosphere to have pipes lining the walls.
- Lastly, there are two simple monetary reasons I like Mike’s. 1) The coffee is a buck. I’m not against paying more, but it’s a great feeling to just slide one bill across the table. 2) His frequent buyer card only has seven spaces, making it attainable. Twice-a-day drinkers get a free cup every week.
If Mike spoke frankly, he might say that long hours and infrequent time with his two young children makes his business far from simple. But by getting in early and making some other seemingly small decisions, Mike has given his business some quick roots in a growing area.