Despite more options, coffee shops stay busy
Published: Friday, October 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
With the arrival of Aroma Joe’s in Durham this semester, coffee drinkers at UNH have had plenty of options to choose from in order to get their caffeine fix.
In addition to Aroma Joe’s, which currently occupies one-third of the space Ballards Restaurant used to call home, students and faculty also have Breaking New Grounds, Dunkin’ Donuts, a number of different carts located throughout campus and the coffee that UNH Dining Services offers both in its dining halls as well as in its cafes, such as Zeke’s Café in the Dimond Library.
Despite the influx of options, according to local businesses, the addition of Aroma Joe’s to the Durham coffee scene has had very little effect on their businesses. For three of the most prominent providers of coffee, Aroma Joe’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Breaking New Grounds, business is as good as usual.
Breaking New Grounds officials did notice that students returning to campus back in August tried Aroma Joe’s initially. Yet those who were regular patrons of the Durham staple did not take long to return.
“We’ve had some people that have gone [to Aroma Joe’s],” said Jess Skalinski, a shift leader at Breaking New Grounds. “We’ve had our regulars come back, if they’ve tried that. We really have not lost any people.”
As for Dunkin’ Donuts, there has not been any significant difference in the amount of business it receives, especially during the busier periods of the day, like lunchtime.
“It still feels like we are just as busy as before,” said Jason Colon, an employee at Dunkin’ Donuts. “Especially around rush time.”
Some students were initially confused when news of Aroma Joe’s arrival to Durham was announced back in February 2012 to replace the popular bar and restaurant, Ballards Restaurant. For some, the addition of yet another coffee shop seemed a little unnecessary.
But according to Mike McKenna, one of the four co-owners and co-founders of Aroma Joe’s, the decision to open up shop in Durham seemed like a no-brainer. The chain — which currently owns 15 other locations — made the call to open up a Durham location due to a number of requests from its customer base.
So far, the decision was a good one for Aroma Joe’s, which has been doing well since its arrival back in May.
“Business has been great,” McKenna said. “We’ve met our initial sales projections.”
In fact, things have been going so well for Aroma Joe’s that McKenna and his fellow co-owners have been looking into the possibility of additional seating at the location.
One thing McKenna thought most people who were initially confused about the decision to open up here at UNH did not realize was that the coffee business tends to want to be closer to their competition, in the same way fast food restaurants tend to.
“We look at the coffee business a little bit like Burger King, Wendy’s or McDonald’s,” McKenna said.