One door closes…

Posted by Karl Purdy on Jun 01, 2018

I really do admire business people with plans, strategies and roadmaps. I can imagine myself sitting in meetings talking timelines, boxes ticked and nailing KPI's. But in reality I am not one of those people. If truth be told, in the beginning Coffeeangel was a total 'Hail Mary'; a 'Jesus I hope this work's' type of venture. Never did I plan the Coffeeangel coffee shops of today or certainly those that may follow tomorrow.

Custom House Quay 2008

With that said, today after 12 years trading - amidst the final-stage chaos and excitement of opening our biggest and newest shop, and the running of the always fun (but demanding) coffee service at Bloom In the Park - we quietly closed the doors of our mobile coffee units on the Quays for the last time. Closing these tiny coffee-shops-with-wheels happened without ceremony or celebration and I guess I'm feeling a little maudlin about it. 

For those who may not know, the mobile unit on Custom House Quay - seen above - opened in 2006 and was really the first proper 'fixed' location for Coffeeangel. Over many, many years we built up both a lovely and loyal following as well as a very solid business platform. We met some truly wonderful people (some who are now genuine friends), we made and learned from mistakes and we won some awards along the way. We worked with some amazing and talented baristas - many of whom have gone on to do their own fantastic things. Looking back we didn't ride high on the Tiger's back nor did we fall hard when the recession hit (total luck I assure you). And it was after 8 long years of brewing coffee along the Liffey in all conditions - whether it was wind, rain, sleet or snow, we signed our first lease on a 'proprer shop' on South Anne Street and moved inside. And we just continued running the 'shops' and mobile business in  tandem.

Coffeeangel SAS 2012

Since then Coffeeangel has grown a lot. But the reality was we were just doing what we've always done - brewing coffee, hoping to make people happy and earn a profit at the end of the day. However, over the last few years we've felt the distance between the experience in our fixed shops and mobile business has grown. To the point where they have almost felt like two separate businesses - both worthy and something to be proud of, but both very, very distinct.

The mobile units have always been logistically and physically challenging on the staff and they have been increasingly tough to maintain. So when late last year the oppotunity presented itself to open a new shop in the IFSC (just meters from our original unit at the Sean O'Casey Bridge), it felt like the perfect solution - customers who knew Coffeeangel on the Quays could continue to enjoy our coffee in an infinitiely more confortable setting, our team could focus on brewing and making customers happy, and we could continue to commit our energies to ensuring that we serve delicious coffee and provide service to the highest of standards. We'd hoped to be opening Coffeeangel IFSC in next week, but sometimes events don't line up perfectly. But rest assured will be opening this location in the next couple of weeks.

I know I probably should have made more of a brew-ha-ha of the closing the moblie units today. But like I said, I've never been one for making plans. And I, along with our wonderful team, are genuinely excited about opening something really amazing just around the corner in the next couple of weeks.

I will never forget those bracing mornings brewing coffee as the sun rose on Custom House Quay. But equally, I will never lose sight of the fact that it is not the roof above or the seat below that makes our business work, but the warmth of the smile and quality of service. I'm a little sad closing those units today (sorry, little bit of dust in my eye), but as clichéd as it sounds "When one door closes, another opens...".

- Karl Purdy