Monday, July 7, 2008

Blastoff Coffee, Hesperia, California - Recession Proof Conference Rooms?

I ran across the news of this coffee shop while writing some things that will appear in the Inland Empire blog Empoprise-IE over the next few days. However, the coffee shop is technically outside of the Inland Empire, so I'll discuss it here.

When you think of business hotbeds, you usually don't think of Hesperia, California, but one feature of this coffee shop sounds intriguing.

[H]elping to bring in business is Blastoff's handsomely appointed conference room, which has been booked for special staff meetings by local healthcare businesses, including a local hospital's board of directors. No rent is charged for use of the room; however, those who use the conference facility must purchase their coffee, beverages and food - if it is a luncheon meeting - from Blastoff.

While reading the article, however, I saw a statement which surprised me:

[Renée] Konstantine believes the recent purchase of Blastoff was especially shrewd because a coffee house is almost recession-proof. While many people may think twice before spending $30 or more on a family dinner at a restaurant, most are willing to spend a few dollars or more on a beverage and a treat. And contrary to typical restaurants, a coffeehouse is a place where people can hangout for an hour or more at a time.

Now this goes against the conventional wisdom, in which every single financial planner seems to be urging you to take your Starbucks money and use it for retirement instead. For example:

Bring your own coffee to office. Many people like to drop by a Starbucks or similar coffee outlet and end up spending a few dollars or more on a cup of coffee. You can potentially save many dollars dollars each week just by making your own coffee at home and bringing it to your work place in a Thermos. Besides, who knows, it may taste better than the coffee from Starbucks!

But Blastoff Coffee has found a target audience that isn't thinking about retirement funds.

But the real stars of Blastoff are the high school students from nearby Sultana High.

Before you study Maslow's hierarchy of needs, coffee drinks are perceived as a necessity.

(I know, Louis Gray, I know. But I'm not friending anyone here.)

But Blastoff Coffee fails in one aspect of attracting the Sultana High crowd - as far as I can tell, it doesn't have a website. But with word of mouth, who needs one?

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