Starbucks is in a deep funk, shutting down 900 stores. But the coffee business can still be a goldmine for go-getters. Take, for example, Sydney Taggart in Portland, Oregon, profiled here. She’s the owner of the up-and-coming Coffee’s On chain. “I have a passion for coffee,” says the upbeat entrepreneur who continues to expand the business despite the harsh economy. Kyle Brown in Houston is banking on the double-drive-through concept. She recently launched ExpressoGoGo, which sells caffeinated drinks out of two drive-through windows. And then there’s the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop in Maine, which opened its doors last week. Yes, you read that correctly: Topless. The baristas are both men and women, but you can guess who snags the bigger tips. You’ve got to be over 18 to enter Grand View and there’s no touching allowed. The headline writers are having a field day with this story. Our favorite: Topless Coffee Shop—Got Milk?
One step at a time. A new We Media/Zogby poll found that Americans trust small business owners and entrepreneurs more than anyone else when it comes to leading the country to a better future. Those are awfully big expectations, but not surprising given that small businesses have generated somewhere between 60 percent to 80 percent of new jobs annually over the last decade. Conversely, people don’t have much faith in either the government or large corporations to get us out of the mess we’re in now. That’s also not surprising considering they were the ones who got us into this hole. (Ok, credit crazed consumers do share some of the blame. But they were just the junkies, while big business was the drug dealer.) In fact, more Americans think leadership is more likely to come from themselves than from the government or corporations. That certainly sounds like the first step toward recovery.
Twitter hits the target. We admit it. We’re not big believers in Twitter, especially when it comes to marketing your business. But this New York Times article about a guy who sells Korean BBQ out of his truck is making us think twice. Kogi Korean BBQ-To-Go sends out Twitter alerts so loyal customers always know where to find it. The food is so good that hungry fans obsessively check their tweets to see where the truck will park next. Who knew 140 characters or less could be so effective?
SBA scam is no joke. In a recent post, we alerted readers to false letters claiming to be from the Small Business Administration. The letters ask business owners to submit their bank account information to determine whether they qualify for a rebate under the Stimulus Act. In the item, we also included a few lame jokes about the SBA’s bureaucracy and inefficiency. Well, guess who didn’t like our wisecracks? The SBA, of course. “Seriously, you guys are hilarious! You should have a drive time show on the radio,” responded SBA spokesman Mike Stamler. “Oh, and when we hear of businesses that were taken in by the scam, we’ll make sure they see your hilarious version of the warning. They’ll think you’re real funny.” With first-rate sarcasm like that, maybe it’s Mr. Stamler who should be auditioning for a gig on Howard Stern.