Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Taste of What's to Come........

Training, training and more training.  Time to put the training to the test!  June 28 we invited a selected group of future customers to our home to taste coffee, tea and items that will be included on our breakfast and lunch menu.  I wanted to have a better picture of what a real day in the life would actually look like.  Without a doubt I have a better understanding of what it means to operate a cafe.

 My children were such a great help for this event.  Christopher made the frozen drink pictured above.  He dazzled the guest with his barista skills.  He operated as if he had years of experience.  Kayland was a great manager, she wore many hats.  She welcomed guest, took orders, served graciously, took payments using our POS system.  Kendell was a customer service guru, he was there with his warm smile making the guest feel at home!  He took orders, helped out in the kitchen, bused tables and made sure that at the end of the day the kitchen was clean and in order.  I know that I cannot do this project without my children.  I look forward to their active participation in this project.
 Above and below are pictures of our sweet treats.  Everyone enjoyed the variety.  This was a great introduction to many who have never attended any of my events or tried any of my foods.  This really was a great teaser to those of what is yet to come in our coffeehouse/wine bar.

 Soups and sandwiches were a great hit.  I understand just how important preparation is to my entire operation.  Success is not by accident.  I know that we have to be very strategic in order to serve guest on time with the best product possible.  Fresh made soups, sandwiches and salads.  We will keep it simple and win!

 The chicken tortilla soup was a true home run.  YUMMY!!!!!!!!  This soup is going to be hands down one of our best sellers.  It is full of flavor with a subtle spicy kick.  This soup comes with avocado and lime garnish with a side of chips.  It is more like a full meal.
Look at my beautiful Flower!  She is a real natural.  She took control of the kitchen.  She developed a system and scolded me a little for almost messing it up.  
 Tiffany is my number one taste tester.  She never lies.  She is always honest with me about what I serve.  I appreciate her.  Tiffany also help serve today.  She did not know that she was in competition with Kayland to see who collected the most at the end of the event!  Kayland won!  Little does Kayland know that next time competitive Tiff will show up.
 The steam rising off the tomato bisque soup.  I love to cook!  I was in a serious mode here.  I did not have any room for errors.
 Look at the team with their JM Affair's t-shirts.  JM Affair's is an event planning service that I started in 2007.  Over the years JM Affairs has planned vineyard tours, jazz shows and catered many events.  JM Affairs is the sponsor of the Third Perk events.  I like to welcome Courtney to our team.  Also in this picture is my bestie Naomi.  She is the such a great asset.  Thanks Omi for being there for me.
 Robert Sanae A.K.A my husband also got into the spirit of the day.

 Time to pucker up!!!  Jaiden KeAna "Keke" stopped by to wish me, her "G" well.
 Our guest really enjoyed the afternoon.
 The conversations went on and on.  The atmosphere was set for enjoyment.
 Life long friend Shereece is a constant supporter of all my endeavors.  She and her mom, Vicki A.K.A Stand-In-Mom enjoyed the afternoon and are looking forward to the opening of the actual cafe!

 Family and friends are undoubtedly on my side in this venture.  I don't know what I would do without their support.  I could say thank you everyday and still it would not be enough.  So I say it again, Thank you all!
 Yep we are still together!  The Golden Girls, together forever!
Last but not least.  One of my MVP's has moved away and leaves a void in my team.  I wish you well Christopher but you will be missed!  Never to late to change your mind ;-)

Friday, May 23, 2014

So you wanna be a barista?

I love coffee!  All my close friends know this to be true.  Even my students know if I am missing my morning Java.  I have loved coffee since I was a child sipping it off a saucer that my Mom would share with me.  Although I am a great lover of coffee I cannot admit to being the best maker of coffee.  Well that has to change if I am to have the best lil ole coffeehouse in Dayton :-).

I am a pretty good cook.  I love to bake.  I love mixing drinks.  I should be able to make a good cup of coffee, right?  Well I decided not to leave it up to chance.  I decided to seek out training.  Enter, Deeper Roots Rosters out of Cincinnati.  Deeper Roots is a small coffee roster that has a great focus.  Their facility is housed in an old dairy farm.  The owners are very cool and interested in educating folks on good coffee, brewing techniques, pulling premium espresso shots and constructing awesome coffee drinks.  Sounds like a great place for me to start.

On May 5th I traveled to Cincy with three other excited students who were eager to become baristas.  My daughter & best friend Kayland, my niece LaSada and a fellow coffee enthusiast Stephanie spent our Saturday learning the history of coffee, about the coffee plant, how the beans are harvested and how they are processed.

Once again I am reminded about just how complex this coffee industry is.  It is very scientific.  Very purposeful.  Full of many strategies.

Our trainer Courtney is a well trained award winning barista.  She shared so much information with us.  We all had a chance to go through the cupping process.  Cupping of coffee tasting is the practice of observing the tastes and aromas of coffee.  From cupping we experienced several techniques of hand brewing.  WOW!  Who know that the various processes of hand brewing would offer so many different taste.

We are on our way to becoming the "Real Baristas of Dayton!"

Next stop espresso.  OK is there any real need in me saying that after this session everyone was literally bouncing off the walls.  Especially me!  I am surprised I didn't get sent to the office for having too much fun.  I went way pass my limit.  But I loved it.

I digress.  Back to my serious student side.

The process of pulling espresso shots is very simple but highly scientific.  There are important elements to be considered when pulling the perfect shot of espresso: grind of the coffee, water filtration, temperature and pressure.  A compromise in any of the elements can truly prevent you from pulling the perfect shot.  We all learned that the hard way.  What you don't want to taste is a bad shot of espresso.  YUCK.

  Above you see a great looking and tasting shot of espresso.  Bravo!

Next up, milk steaming.  Oh what a sweet sound and a delightful taste of frothy milk.  This process was not as difficult as handling pulling shots of espresso.

Finally we are ready to build drinks.  Cappuccino, lattes, macchiatos, and yes latte art.  I cannot believe how much I am enjoying coffee.  Just coffee.  No sugar, no syrup, nothing but coffee.  Although I am developing such a deep appreciation of coffee I now make an awesome vanilla latte.  My latte art has a long way to go :-).

  LaSada's first attempt at latte art produced what we think is a Lima bean.  What do you think it looks like?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Third Perk Logo Contest

I believe in the Third Perk Concept!  I believe that the community will support the business once it is open.  I wanted the community to feel as if the business belongs to them.  I felt that it was important to include my Dayton community in the development of the business by allowing artist to compete in the creation of the Third Perk logo.

On February 12th we launch the logo contest at the Dayton Cultural Center.  We had a great turnout.  I provided samples of coffee, sweet treats and appetizers.  Everything was received well.  Now I had to wait to see what type of designs we would receive.

Fast forward to April 15th.  NO LOGOS YET!  Not one.  Ok guys there is a cash prize.  In fact there are several cash prizes and gift cards to the coffeeshop.  No takers?  Not even as a gag?  Maybe the economy isn't as bad as I think.

I sent out a few reminders but by April 24 still no entries.  Now I am concerned.  The following Monday I received the first entry.  YAY!!!!!!!!!!!  It was so cool.  It was a design that I could live with and I believe that passers by would be drawn in.  There were still 4 days left till the end of the contest.  Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday no logos.  I guess contestant number 1 wins hands down.

On Friday 10 more entries came in the mail.  I smiled from ear to ear.  There was not one logo that I did not like.  I am so thankful that the community came through.  I wanted to share with you the top six picks.  If you would like to vote you can do so by going to our Facebook page:

Like the page and then go on to like your favorite logo.  Please don't like more than one design.  Here are the finalist.  Please help us out by casting a vote on our Facebook page.

Contestant 31

Contestant 32
 Contestant 34

Contestant 35

Contestant 40

Contestant 41

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

So you wanna start your own business? Blog 3

So I do hope that someone who is reading this Blog is interested in starting their own business.  I wanted to share with you steps that have really helped me along the way.  My personal business planning model is:
  1. Have a dream or vision that you want to make a reality.
  2. Can you afford to go into this business?  To start a business you must have cash on hand, credit or someone silly enough to fund your dream (usually the later ain't happening)
  3. Research and Plan.  Is the capital that you have enough to fund your dream?  You also must become an expert in what ever business your are pursuing.  Don't open then learn to become the expert.  Your customers deserve your best from the start.
  4. Seek out professional help for advise and consultation (that sometimes cost, but you get what you pay for).
  5. Make a decision if you should stop or go full steam ahead in your business plan.
  6. Implement your plan.  Remember the plan is just that, a blueprint for you to follow not just a paper weight.
  7. Now that you are executioning your plan reflect on how well you are following the plan and make note on where and why you have had to deviate from your original plan.
  8. Decide on what to maintain in your business and what changes need to be made.  This process will be complete by making sure that you really pay attention to step 7, reflection is critical.
  9. Make sure you are seeking professional development.  Keep your tools sharp!
Most cities have small business development centers.  They are full of free resources.  Take advantage of their services and resources.  You cannot learn too much.  It is better to plan, trust me.  One mistake in Juan-Michele (besides lack of capital) was my failure to plan.  I did not plan, I know that I did not answer the hard questions that are necessary in planning and opening a business.  It was so instrumental in my failure. 

If you live in the Dayton area you cannot use the following link to learn more about starting your business:

Outside of Dayton checkout the SBA website:

Happy planning to ya!

Here are some shots from CoffeeFest 2013.  This was a very overwhelming experience.  I did learn a lot.  I am set to return to CoffeeFest in June.  This time I have an agenda, I know exactly what products I am seeking and I have outlined the workshops that I will attend.  I can't wait to fit the ground running in St. Louis!!!  What are you doing today to see your dreams come true?  Are you making any plans?  Don't let your dreams, stay dreams- Kendell Darden, 2008.

Funding my dream

Last year when I really took this journey on as something that would not remain on my dream board, but would become a post on my reality board I had a plan of investing $50,000 towards my coffeehouse.  I knew that I had the capacity to raise those funds in about 18 months.  Well attending Coffeefest changed that plan.  I was nearly laughed at when I let people know how much I planned to invest.  Try starting at $150,000!  WHAT?  That is three times the amount that I assumed that I would need.  We know what they say about assumptions :-)

After spending last summer really digging into my plan and understanding just how costly the equipment is alone, my projected amount needed to start this business is, yep you guessed it, $150,000.  Really it is.  Crazy, but the numbers don't lie.  OK so how do I make this happen?  So where is the capital coming from?  I knew that $150,000 was a little out of my personal reach.  I came up with a plan.

The plan included my own $24,000 of personal capital.  $20,000 in equity for my rental property.  $20,000 from four investors and the remaining $86,000 would come from loans or possible grants.  I contacted City Wide Development (CWD).  That exploration led me to Bill Smith.  Mr. Smith handles loan packaging for CWD and he was excited about my proposed project.  He let me know there are no grants available but their are special pots of cash for projects within the City limits.  Unfortunately my project is just outside the City limits, but there are SBA funds that I qualify for.  

Fast forward to today.  After looking into a few possible investors I was only able to secure ONE.  Just one, very disappointing, but that is how it is :-(.  Now I need to borrow$101,000 to make the project work.  After speaking with a banker, I may not have the ability to pull out $20,000 from my rental property.  So now I need $121,000.  I am clearly moving in the wrong direction.  

In come the 200 Campaign!  After praying on how the capital would come about, I learned from church how my Pastor proposed to raise funds for assisting other countries.  One of his methods was 200 persons donating $50 to raise $10,000.  Hey I know 200 people.  I think I know 200 people who might have $50 that they would offer as a gift to my business.  That $10,000 would reduce the amount I need to borrow to 111,000.

As of today I have talked to nearly 100 persons about the 200 campaign.  Most have agreed to participate, 41 have actually come through.  Today I have collected $2235.  Wow!  I am $7,765 from my goal of raising $10,000 in gifted funds.  I press on.  And fully believe that everyone who gave me a verbal commitment will come through along with others who will help meet my goal of $10,000 in gifted funds.

Here are just a few of the folks that I was able to capture that have donated to my effort.

The photos were taken at the launch of our Logo Contest on February 12.  We had such a great time that evening.

Can't say enough about all the support.  Can't say enough about the love I felt.

It takes a village!

Before you think its to late for you to join this campaign you can support my effort by using this link:

Thank you all for reading, and supporting!!!!!!  Juanita-Michelle

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Praying My Way Through-Blog #2

Here I am in our Nation's Capital with my daughter and best friend Kayland.  We are smiling and I know you can't tell but it is very, very, very cold.  I am still amazed that we were able to withstand the weather like we did.
Although it is freezing and I can barely feel my toes we really had a ball.  We are waiting to hear our President deliver his inauguration speech.  The energy is great and there are people from all over the world here to celebrate the second term of President Barack Obama.  This event is energizing.  I know that it is possible for all things to happen!

So I am now determined to make this coffeehouse a reality.  How easy will it be to open and run a coffeehouse?  I will add some tasty treats and BOOM, I am a success!  Before signing a lease and jumping in head first I decided to do somethings differently than I have done before.  This time around I did not want to waste time or energy without knowing that I had did my homework.  I refused to lose.  I had to be smart about every move.  I had to learn everything possible about this business.

Here are the next four steps taken on the journey:

First up: Pray
I was referred to a book of prayers by my Pastor.  The title of the book Prayers that Activate Blessings, written by John Eckhardt was a great blessing to me.  I read the book over several weeks.  I also participated in a ministry class at church, The Cleasning Stream.  Both activites helped me to align myself correctly so that I could hear God's voice.  I wanted to make sure that He was walking this path with me.  I did not want to walk this path alone, I wanted to know that God was with me throughout the journey.

Secondly: Planning
I contacted a business consultant, Adrienne Heard.  I worked with Mrs. Heard when I opened Juan-Michele.  I value her advise and knew that she would be a great consultant to use on this journey.  We met in March of 2013 have met pretty regularly since then.

Third on the list: CoffeeFest
I traveled to Chicago in June of last year to attend a coffee trade show.  I wanted to learn as much as possible about my simple little coffeehouse business.  This would give me all I need to get started.  LOL.  No.  ROFLMAO, yeah that more like it.  CoffeeFest was a reality check for me. 
Let's break it down:
  • I had in my mind that $50,000 would be enough to begin my business.  Coffeefest said yeah right.  Triple that number and then add a little more.
  • Simple little coffeehouse.  No way.  The coffee business is major business.  It is no doubt complex.  From where the coffee beans come from, to who's roasting your beans, down to how to keep it all calculated properly, my coffeehouse will not be a simple little business.  Jeez. 
  • Choosing the right equipment.  The isles and isles of equipment became so overwhelming that I simply shut down.  I was in overload and could not process one more thing.  TOO MUCH TOO FAST!  Not sure if you can understand how the size of the conference for the picture below, but this is just one section of a major convention center exhibition hall.

Fourth on the list: Re-evaluation
Is this really something that I can do?  Is this really something that I want to do?  Will the outcome bring my heart joy?  My answer was yes, yes and yes.  

I have a dream.........

Hello I am Juanita-Michelle.  Daytonian!  Born, raised and happy in Dayton, Ohio.  I am the wife of Robert Sanae (A.K.A Robert Jones), musician and leader of the Crater Creek Project.  I am the mother of Kenan, Kendell and Kayland.  Thanks to my husband I also have the opportunity to be a mother to Anthony, Renatta and Christopher.  I am also known as 'G' to four very special persons: Jaiden-KeAna, Ya'Niah, Naomi-Violet and Aden.  I share more about my family and friends throughout this journey.

I have had dreams of being a business owner all my life.  I have pursued many avenues over the past 30+ years.  Let's see, just to list a few:
  • My mobile vegetable stand (I think I was about 10)
  • Having a newspaper route
  • Selling Avon, Mary Kay, Tupperware, and World Ventures
  • Juan-Michele, The Boutique (closed in 6 months)
  • JM Affairs (the most successful of them all and still produces an event time to time)
I have over the years had successes and many failures, they have truly built my muscle and have taught me many valuable lessons, but I have never let go of the dream of being a successful business owner.  That brings me to this blog, "From Beans to Cup". 

Several years ago my favorite little watering hole closed.  It was located on Salem Avenue.  The North River Coffeehouse became a regular stopping and meeting place for me.  It was quite, clean and safe.  Occasionally they would host a special event like spoken word or live entertainment.  It had rooms that could be reserved for meetings and the atmosphere was pretty cool.  I believe that our little coffeehouse had a run of about 5 years (that number could be a little off).  One day it was just closed. 

I missed my coffeehouse!

I live in the Northwest area of Dayton, my neighborhood actually is Harrison Township, but its all Dayton to me :-).  North River coffeehouse was the only coffeehouse on our side of town.  I was upset by its closing and nothing reappearing.  I thought of my favorite Columbus coffeehouse, Urban Spirit.  I admired the space and the owner, Charity is mad cool.  She gave me inspiration to open a similiar space in Dayton.  I began thinking where I could place my cool new coffeehouse. 

I focused my eyes on a house at the corner of Catapla and Hillcrest (it was a former dog groomer).  I even gave it a name, 'The Corner Coffeehouse'.  Cool right?  Until Dionne, a good friend and fellow coffee lover said that if she bought coffee from that house she'd just assume there was residue of dog hair in every sip.  LOL.  I changed my mind about The Corner Coffeehouse.  In fact I let that dream go to the side.

Fast forward three years (give or take one) to January 2013.  I knew that I needed to produce another revenue stream for my house hold.  I knew that I had to begin thinking legacy for my children and grands.  I thought that I would pursue what made my heart happy.  Let's see: food, fashion, coffee and crafts.  I decided to look back into opening my coffeehouse.  This was the beginning of the journey that will take me from the bean to serving you your best and favorite cup of coffee.  I pray that you enjoy this ride.  Destination: the opening of a new coffeehouse in Dayton, Ohio!