LocalShops1 Boy's plea to local coffee shop owners: Help highway drivers find your shop. Here, he tells us about his road trip adventures and search for caffeine.
On a recent road trip from Florida to North Carolina, I noticed something that had never occurred to me in countless highway drives before.
Maybe it was because I was trying very hard not to be sleepy.
What I noticed is this: If you’re looking for help finding a coffee shop on the interstate, you’re out of luck. Watch the little "food” signs right before exits and you’ll see Burger King, Wendy’s, Zaxby’s, Subway, Taco Bell, Sonny’s Bar-B-Que, Cracker Barrel, and maybe some local restaurants, but no coffee shops.
At least nothing that shouts "HEY SLEEPY, PULL OFF HERE AND TURN LEFT FOR A JOLT.”
Not even a Starbucks! Little indy shops would be better, but not even Starbucks? With all of their money and national coverage, they haven’t figured out a way to lure the sleepy highway-hypnotized crowd who would love a latte and their free wi-fi connection?
Now to be fair, I did finally see a Starbucks billboard. ONE. In nearly 700 miles, I saw one. And it was on the way back to Florida somewhere in southern Georgia.
During the trip I called my girlfriend for help. FIND ME A LATTE! Hearing the desperate tone in my voice, and knowing I was in no mood to drive all over town, in the middle of nowhere, to find a local coffee shop, LocalShops1 Girl reluctantly looked up Starbucks' corporate website to find locations in South Carolina. The only Starbuckses she could find were all clustered around Columbia – because it’s the capital and a huge college town, and there’s an airport. I guess anywhere else in South Carolina, nobody has ever had a cinnamon dolce latte.
"You don't need Starbucks!" she said. "I'll find you a cute local restaurant instead!"
After much searching online she found a little place called the French Hen, in Manning, S.C. and called for directions. I followed the directions, but found no French Hen. There was nothing there. Later I found out it was because the woman who answered the phone had the wrong exit number.
There’s probably a lot of potential traveler business they’re missing out on.
So, local coffee shops, think of how much business you could get if you only let the interstate crowd know you’re there ... And how to get there.
We would really …yaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwnnnn, excuse me … love to come see you.
LocalShops1, est. 2008,
is a coalition of hundreds of independently owned businesses
and tens of thousands of energetic shoppers with the mission of
advocating, promoting and offering support services to companies
throughout Tampa Bay.
features guest blogs by those who know best: The local restaurateurs,
nutritionists, contractors, fashion stylists and more. They're the ones
who help make Tampa Bay a better place, one business at a time.