Editor's note: This is one in our series of interviews with Indianapolis small business owners navigating the pandemic business environment.
Coffee shops often rely on foot traffic - so what do you do when your coffee shop is located in a building that has had to close? Sue Spicer and Jenna Tull co-own Double Cupped Cafe, the coffee shop inside the Central Library in downtown Indianapolis. The library had to close for much of this year, and Spicer spoke with WFYI’s Terri Dee about their thoughts on moving to another location and the advice she’d give if she taught a business class.
Terri Dee: Give us a little background about your company and how things are going with you lately.
Sue Spicer: Our company transitioned from being part of another company to where Jenna Tull and I now, co-own. We both have worked at that cafe for five years. But the last year and a half, we've owned it. The times, they are very tough. We spent our one year anniversary locked down because we're inside the Central Library, when they close, we're closed. So we had a four month hiatus starting March 15th. We came back August 1st, and we've been roaring along, considering we used to have several employees and now we have one part time one, but the library is shutting down to patrons again, so it's just gonna be Jenna and I.
TD: Have you considered changing locations?
Sue Spicer: We've considered doing other locations. Jenna's ready to open a coffee shop anywhere she can serve coffee to someone at five o'clock in the morning. But myself, I am in love with the library and being at the cafe for the staff and patrons there.
TD: What creative ways have you considered implementing to not only meet your payroll, keep your employees, but also to just keep the lights on?
Sue Spicer: We are working on a plan with hopefully the cooperation of the library, where we'll start selling some of the things that we sell in bulk platters. We do a crock pot soup at the library with as many fresh local chemical free organic ingredients as possible. And we're going to be selling quarts of that as a way to bring bulk sales in. We'll sell coffee, both in bean form and in the to-go things whatever it takes to round that income up. When we started back up, we had a inkling that we were going to get shut down again. So we opened up a business savings account and have been socking money away in that to help us get through these times.
TD: If you had the opportunity to teach a college business course what would be the bullet points you would like to teach that class?
Sue Spicer: Keep good books. Know where you are financially at any given moment. Save some money, even if it means not doing something fun sometimes, so that when times get lean, you can have a backup.
TD: Thank you so much for your time today.
Sue Spicer: Terri thank you so much...I'm a big fan.