If I owned the place, I would:
Keep the hardwood floors and tin ceiling. They’re beautiful, and completely in character with the neighborhood.
Paint the walls a different color. They have a few nice photographs and a few random art pieces hanging here and there, but I rarely take the time to look at them. The walls would need work. Maybe a neutral but warm color, with the art work on the walls grouped strategically to encourage viewing, would be the improvement the walls are crying for.
Clean it up more often. Maybe I’ve just been there on busy, busy nights, but I’ve noticed that the garbage bins on the way out the door are often overflowing. There are always at least two or three light bulbs burned out as well. Could this be a job for a teenager after school? A college student in exchange for free caffeine?
They have free wireless internet service, too. There is a tip jar at the counter asking for tips “to keep the wi-fi free”. I haven’t used their wi-fi yet, but my change always goes in the tip jar anyway. If I owned the place, I’d keep this service if at all possible. It would bring in at least a few regulars, creating word-of-mouth buzz for more customers.
They have a limited menu of sandwiches and breakfast goodies. I would keep this, too, while potentially sharing advertising with a local bakery. It could be a win-win for both of us.
It’s not in a location that encourages a drive-through, so that’s not a concern. Delivery maybe? There are enough workplaces in the general area to make deliveries worthwhile. Offices could fax or call in their orders ahead of time, and we could deliver for a small fee. This could expand our reach, create more exposure, and encourage those folks to stop in on their own time.
Smoking isn’t an issue, either, since our town passed a smoking ban in public places a while back. If we didn’t have the ban, I’d run a nonsmoking place anyway.
Reading over this, I realize that I really like the place. Most of what they’re doing is great. Did I mention their coffee is delicious, too? And since retirement is a long way off, I don’t plan on opening up my own spot for decades, if ever. It’s just a dream. Stumble It!