Wednesday, December 16, 2009

on being lengendary...for a day

The Times Herald

PLYMOUTH — The dry spell is over.
The dark stuff is flowing again at Plymouth Meeting Mall now that Saxbys Coffee has picked up where Starbucks left off more than a year ago.
It’s a weekday afternoon and folks are queued up to be revved up, whether it’s from a simple cup of gourmet coffee, a foamy cappuccino or some sweetly-intensive concoction.
No matter which of the liquid jolts they quaff down, Michael Weinberg is hoping every brew will turn into black gold for the Conshohocken-based roasters.
“People can’t believe such a gourmet product came from a few miles away, on West Elm Street,” said Saxbys franchise developer. “I think people really respect that we’re local. I’ve seen all the customers come back again and again. They know my name and I know theirs. When a customer comes in I’ll say, ‘Hi, Mr. Johnson, your Cafe Americana will be right up.’ and just that association makes people feel good.
“When you go to big chains,” he added, “it’s a quick one-two, you’re out of there. There’s no interaction.
When you work at a local coffee shop such as this, you get to know your clients and their drinks and you have a relationship.”
Some of those relationships began when Saxbys opened on Black Friday.
“It was interesting,” Weinberg said, recalling the craziness. “We were busy for 18 hours straight, with a non stop line all day long.”
With 50 stores across the east coast and several out west, Saxbys is intent on building a name to rival the omnipresent chain whose name also kicks off with the letter ‘S.”
“We’re pretty dominant in the city and the Main Line, now we’re working our way out,” Weinberg noted. “Our name recognition is not huge, but people are recognizing the Saxbys logo more and more. We’re definitely a player in the coffee game.”
All outlets are distinctive, he pointed out. A dozen are situated on college campuses, while the Saxbys in Haverford boasts two floors and a fireplace.
“We try to meet the needs of every area, whether it’s around offices where they would need to conduct meetings, a kiosk on a college campus, or at the mall.”
Located just outside the food court on the lower level, where Bucks County Coffee reigned supreme for years -- those who still lament the departure of BCC may take heart in knowing that Saxbys bought out the company -- the latest incarnation of Saxbys doesn’t have a fireplace.
But its a warmly inviting environment nonetheless, featuring a massive L-shaped, diner-style counter skirted by a jazzy, 1950s-ish motif.
Flat screen TVS and Wifi will probably be in place by the time you’re reading this, Weinberg noted.
“Not only does this serve the people trying to get away from the office for a little pick-me-up, it’s a nice hangout spot where people can come and have a conversation in a cozy environemnt and relax when they’re at the mall.”
Whether you’re a Red Eye kind of guy who takes his coffee with a double shot of espresso, or more the Caramel Macchiato type, like Weinberg, the difference in Saxbys coffee is evident in the roasting process, Weinberg allowed.
“Our roasting style is European, using cast iron gas-fired drum roasters that are strictly air-cooled, never water quenched,” he noted.
The signature Saxbys drink is British Islander, a concoction of macadamia nut, English toffee and white chocolate flavors that “will knock your socks off,” Weinberg assured.
Each Saxbys Coffee location is independently owned and operated, which affords a closeness to the communities where they’re located, Weinberg said, adding that the Plymouth store was available to be franchised.
“Our model isn’t always to open-source corporately, but in this economy it’s great to be able to see a store in action.
As you can see it’s a great-looking store that’s performing, instead of back in the day saying, ‘this store could be good.’ So anyone who is interested can just come here anytime and take a look.
“Me, I’m not an Internet shopper; I like to try my shoes on before I buy them,” Weinberg said, grinning.
Yes, that's Mike and myself. Although Mike was the one with the interview, I got to be in the pictures. It was super fun to represent my Saxbys shop! It's not everyday that you get your face in the paper...even if it's just a small local one. Still exciting.

As for life right now-- overwhelming and busy. With work & home life, along with our Seattle trip on head is spinning. No worries, for it will all be worth it. Hopefully once the Holidays are over my life will get a little more settled and I will some how have the energy to blog more.

Things I am looking forward to:
  • Of course, Monday. Our annual trip to Seattle! I am in some ways dreading the plane ride, honestly just because Sebastian is a very active boy and knowing him and the stage he is at, he will not want to be contained for five hours in a seat. It will definitely be a chore in keeping him occupied with things. So far I have compiled a list of things that should for a some amount of time keep Sebastian engaged. I plan on bringing a portable dvd player (thanks to my inlaws) so he can watch his favorite movies, bringing him a couple tootsie pops to suck on (no I do not give my son tootsie pops to suck on a regular bases!) & help him calm his popping ears, and of course some of his beloved toys. It would be ideal if he would sleep on the plane but you never know with Sebastian. When it involves taking a nap in anything other than his room, in his crib he usually has a harder time. Pray for me. Thanks.
  • Bobby ordered my Canon Rebel SLR camera! I know, he is awesome! Yes, it's not much of a surprize but he was sweet enough to figure that if we ordered now that it would get here before our trip :-) yay! What a perfect way to break my brand new toy in.
  • Speaking of my new camera...once the New Year begins I will be working on a new venture. I will call it Project 365. I will be taking a self portrait everyday for a year! How fun! Right??
  • I am extremely flooded with joy when I think about how shortly I will get to hug my dad again.
  • Happy that Sebastian will get to experiance a Hulitza Chirstmas!!!!!!
Stay warm everyone -- Jack Frost is surely nipping at my nose, Bbrrrrrrrr!!!


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