Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Everybody's Coffee

               Everybody’s Coffee is a unique coffee shop just a few blocks from the redline Wilson stop. The shop serves coffee, tea, and pastries and has free WIFI and light music, but those are the only features it has in common with the average Joe coffee shop. Everybody’s Coffee has differentiated itself from other coffee shops with a creative process that is reflected in its customer service and business model.

                From a customer service and experience perspective, there is a standard expectation for coffee shops. From chain shops like Starbucks to mom and pop shops, beverages are typically served in basic ceramic mugs or cardboard cups with plastic lids. Water is served in a clear plastic cup. You will only encounter a piece of plastic and cardboard cup at Everybody’s Coffee if you take your drink to go. Water and iced drinks are served in mason jars. Coffee is served in a wide mug with a drip plate and a foamy design. Its tea is the most unique. They use loose tea and it is served while still steeping in the French press! They bring you a French press, double walled glass, and hourglass sand timer on a wood tray. The hourglass is nestled in a piece of cork and once all the sand falls to the bottom, you can press your tea and pour a glass. They also allow free hot water refills, so that you can steep your tea a second time or more depending on the blend at no extra charge. Most other coffee shops would not allow hot water refills, because that’s twice the amount of tea for the same price. This is creative, because it makes the process interactive. Instead of just receiving tea, the customer partially makes the tea themselves. In the pastry section, they sell massive cookies for just $1 each, which is cheaper than most other shops. The customer experience at Everybody’s Coffee is extremely unique, inexpensive, and interactive compared to the average Joe shop.

                More unique than the customer service and experience, is Everybody’s Coffee’s business model. It is not a standalone coffee shop, it’s actually at the front of a long building that has music and dance halls in the back. And it’s not at the front of a dance hall, like a Starbucks is on the ground level of an office building or how some cafes are connected to hotel lobbies. Everybody’s coffee itself acts as the lobby for the entertainment hall called Wilson Abbey. I have never seen a coffee shop that also serves the function of a lobby. One article even deems Everybody's Coffee as the centerpiece of the Wilson Abbey. It even shares the massive bathrooms with the entertainment hall. I remember being shocked by this when I first visited, because I was not aware of the entertainment halls, so I went from a small, quaint coffee shop to a bathroom that had rows and rows of stalls like the bathrooms I had seen as concert halls and baseball stadiums. Everybody’s Coffee also makes use of the unusual space by having seating areas and paintings hung in the massive hallway leading to the entertainment halls.

                Everybody’s coffee also sells the paintings that they have on display. So, aside from a coffee shop, it acts as an art gallery and store. These creative additions should be in every coffee shop! The artist gets a free store and the coffee shop gets free art, albeit, temporary. If anything, the temporariness of the art is unique and beneficial as well, because the shop will continue to change as old painting sell and new ones are hung. This keeps the café interesting for returning customers, which brings us to the next unique quality of Everybody’s Coffee.

               Returning customers are perhaps more common at Everybody’s Coffee than your average Joe shop, because Everybody’s Coffee has found a creative way to develop a community. During my stay at the shop, there were at least five, if not more, visitors who came in just to drop something off or visit with the baristas. Some would buy a drink, chat for a half hour at the cashier, and then head out.  In fact, their community extends beyond the shop and into the dance and music halls. I noticed that some of the baristas were also musicians when they left their shift with an instrument to go practice. I usually expect a café baristas to be a random mix of teenagers and twenty somethings or a random mix of coffee loving hipsters. I have never met a staff so passionate about the product while also strongly connected with the community. It was creative to place a coffee shop in a vibrant community  (the Wilson Abbey) in order to increase retention and visibility.

                There is plenty of competition in the food service industry, Everybody’s Coffee managed to differentiate itself in a creative way by developing a unique experience and joining into a community. Everybody’s coffee is not just a coffee shop, but a place of gathering, an art gallery, and the centerpiece of an entertainment hall.



  1. I haven't heard of this place before, but as an avid coffee drinker I will make sure that I visit! There is not much character in the coffee shop industry, with industry leaders Starbucks, Caribou, Dunkin' Donuts, and McDonald's offering predictability, convenient locations, and decent coffee, but not much else. Local places such as Metropolis offer much more, but cannot be described as innovative as this place can. I think its especially interesting because the shop's differences aren't significant, but it shows how small differences nonetheless matter to people. I also like how Everybody's has fostered a strong community feel. Can't wait to check it out!

  2. This place sounds spectacular! Thanks for sharing your great find. I particularly am moved by the community building that they are able to do by partnering with the dance halls and functioning together as a social gathering space. They are not only being good neighbors, but really fostering and facilitating the space for relationships to grow on a micro level. This, in a community like Wilson, is so valuable. It is, perhaps, one of the most lucrative pieces of infrastructure I can imagine in an urban setting that can oftentimes be isolating and discombobulated. I will certainly be making a trek down the red line to try my hand at their tea menu and get a feel for this hot spot!

  3. I have not heard of this place, but your article has piqued my interest. As a huge tea drinker, it is always nice to find a place that offers french press and loose tea options. What's even cooler is that they allow you to press it yourself. It's great that they are taking advantage of their location and making the most of it. No wonder they have so many returning customers. I will definitely have to check this place out. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. Oh my gosh, this is my favorite coffee shop in the city and I'm so happy you wrote about it. Interesting fact, Everybody's Coffee is actually a business run by the social justice group/church Jesus People USA (funny name I know). They're really cool because they serve as a kind of communal living center where people of all backgrounds (rich and poor alike) can live under the same roof as a big happy family. Living in the facility is free, but you are expected to work in one of Jesus People USA's small businesses, Everybody's Coffee being one of them. So anyone you see working there is actually a member of the church. I think it is such an interesting cultural phenomenon because, unlike most churches that will run homeless shelters, Jesus People USA does away with the idea of the "haves and the havenots" by creating a space where everyone can live and work together in a common sense of dignity.

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