Mt. Vernon Register-News

Features

March 25, 2014

Coffee's third wave? The Apple to Starbucks' Microsoft

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

For all the minimalism, though, Blue Bottle's affect somehow comes off as warm and fuzzy. Like Apple, Blue Bottle assumes that the best customer experience is one in which all of the hard decisions have been made — correctly — in advance. To paraphrase Steve Jobs, people don't know what they want in a cappuccino until you serve it to them.

So how does one find out about a Blue Bottle café in one's neighborhood? Well, at peak caffeinating hours, there are lines snaking out the door like an Apple Store on the morning of an iPhone launch. That's what first attracted Bryan Meehan, the entrepreneur behind the organic grocery chain Fresh and Wild, to the company's Ferry Building location. "I was drawn to it first by how long the lines were, and then by how great the coffee was," Meehan told me. "And then I was struck by how quiet the brand is. … The bags are completely sustainable, the coffee's mostly organic, but they don't feel the need to communicate that. It's a different way of marketing one's values, just through living them."

Meehan was so smitten that he arranged to meet with Freeman to ask if he might be willing to take on a few individual investors who could help him expand. When Freeman agreed, Meehan approached his friend Tony Conrad, the founder of About.me and a partner in the San Francisco early-stage capital firm True Ventures. Freeman's vision wowed Conrad, too, and his partners were as intrigued as he was. Soon True Ventures was considering investing in Blue Bottle as a firm.

Venture capital was not meant to fund coffee shops. The VC concept emerged from Silicon Valley in the 1960s and '70s as a way to get semiconductor companies through the expensive research-and-development phase so that they could one day realize immense profits by revolutionizing computing. Over the decades, VC firms have widened their interests to include all sorts of companies that rely on technology or the Internet to grow more rapidly than would be possible for a traditional brick-and-mortar enterprise. But it's only in the past few years that a few have begun to venture into the realms of retail, restaurants, and beverage companies. And those investments remain controversial.

Text Only
Features
  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 2.21.22 PM.png VIDEO: Dog 'faints' from excitement of seeing owner

    A reunion between a Pennsylvania woman who had been living overseas for two years and her pet schnauzer has gone viral, garnering nearly 20 million views on YouTube.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Has the ipad lost its swag?

      The company reported this week that sales of its sleek, pricey tablet were down 19 percent from last quarter and 9 percent year-over-year. CEO Tim Cook tried to reassure investors that Apple's new partnership with IBM to sell its devices to IBM's corporate customers will help make iPads ubiquitous in the workplace. "This isn't something that worries us," he said of the iPad sales decline. But the numbers are disappointing no matter how you spin them.

    July 24, 2014

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 23, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 22, 2014

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 11.16.48 AM.png VIDEO: Comcast apologizes after customer service call goes viral

    Comcast issued an apology after one of its representatives kept a customer captive on the phone for nearly 20 minutes, demanding to know why he was choosing another cable provider.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks