Located in suburban Woodstock, the spotlight in today’s post is Copper Coin Coffee.
The coffee shop occupies a sizable space on Chambers Street in downtown Woodstock and attracts a devoted crowded to its location daily. There is, of course, coffee (Copper Coin is partnered with East Pole Coffee Company)—but also breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Copper Coin is tightly integrated with the community and there are all kinds of events that occur there on a frequent basis, such as hosting a local knitting group, an art history class, and other special interest events including pop-up art shows, and a number of photo shoot and TV/movie productions. There are live shows/concerts on the weekends; see the events calendar for details.
In the summer of 2018, Copper Coin received a liquor license and has been serving beer/wine (and a few months later, alcohol).
The photos from Copper Coin are from the Woodstock location (there were previously two other locations in the Atlanta area).
NOTE: At the bottom of this post, you can read the responses from the owner of Copper Coin Coffee, Randy Altmann, to the questions I had about the shop, some of its challenges, and more. I think Randy’s responses are very insightful, and I am thankful for Randy sharing his thoughts.
If you’re in the Woodstock area, I highly recommend checking out Copper Coin for coffee (the fact that they’re partnered with East Pole Coffee Company, one of the Atlanta’s best specialty coffee shops and roasters is an added bonus). And if you’re not a coffee person, you can always check out Copper Coin for their breakfast/lunch options and/or their numerous live events.
Interview with the Owner of Copper Coin
Following is a condensed interview with the owner of Copper Coin, Randy Altmann:
Question: When was Copper Coin founded? Was it founded at the same location as the current one?
Answer: This is the Third location for the shop. It started as the Woodstock Coffee Shop almost 15 years ago. The original location was next to where the Sprouts Farmers Market is currently located in Towne Lake. Nine years ago, the former owners purchased the shop. They did a deal with ACRU, a loan institute, that was in this site and became “Copper Coin Coffee” inside the bank. Over time they took over more and more of the space and 3 years ago, the bank (by then Bank of the Ozarks) moved out and Copper Coin took over the entire site. They also opened up two other locations, Brookhaven and Cumming, which were full-out restaurants that closed in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
The former owners announced in October of 2017 that they were closing the Woodstock location. We purchased the assets from the bank. They closed Oct 31 at 9 PM and we re-opened Nov 1 at 6:30 AM.
Question: Since its opening, has Copper Coin undergone any significant renovations or expansion?
Answer: We have expanded to a fairly functional, good sized kitchen. We also have renovated the old bank offices and rent out cubicles or offices by the hour, day, week or month.
Question: Did Copper Coin serve beer/wine/drinks from the beginning or was this an expansionary move per customer demand?
Answer: We added Beer/Wine in August of 2018 and the first Alcohol in December 2018.
This was part of our business plan to expand the CC from a Daytime Coffee Shop/Gathering Place to expand “The Flip Side of the Coin” to be a place where adults could come and relax in the evenings but feel comfortable having their children with them.
As part of the transition we greatly expanded the kitchen offering to include more Breakfast and Lunch items. A lot more desert offerings. We are just now beginning to offer lite food in the evenings.
Question: There are some similarities in the architectural space with East Pole Coffee Company (with whom you have a partnership) -- I am thinking of the stadium seating, for example. Is that just a coincidence?
Answer: Purely a coincidence other then the original designers of both spaces wanted the “gathering space”
Question: Can you comment on what your clientele is like? Is it people who come in regularly every day to get some morning coffee and/or do some work? Or is it a varied mix of customers?
Answer: Daytime we are a gathering place for a lot of Woodstock. Coffee out Mom’s, business meetings, home away office. Afternoon and Evenings are more students. We have begun live music 4 days a week. This brings a different weekend crowd as we feature an eclectic mix of music types. Jazz, R&B, Classical, Old Blues, Americana. Our Jazz Lunch on Sundays has become a packed house place to come and relax after church or a lazy morning.
The Fri/Sat music includes local and Atlanta based talent as well as touring indie acts from Nashville, Washington, Indiana and even Italy so we are becoming a quasi-concert venue.
With the addition of board and card games we also are getting everything from Scrabble to Uno games most nights.
We also host a local knitting group, an art history class and other special interest events including pop-up art shows, and a number of photo shoot and TV/movie productions.
Question: Do you have any partnerships or outreach with any non-profits or other local organizations? If so, which ones and how do you partner together?
Answer: We support a number of local worship places by donating/discounting coffees for their major events (Xmas, Easter). East Pole Coffee Company also supports us in this by grinding the beans for free for these events.
We support most of the local School PTA groups and offer discounts to their teachers and families as well as support their newspapers etc. We also work with the Lions Club as a collection point for winter clothing.
Question: What are some of your biggest challenges in running your business today? What, if anything, would help you operate more successfully?
Answer: Keeping and Training a staff is the lifeblood of what we do. They are the frontline and are a contact point for ALL our customers. Teaching them to make a great cup of coffee is “easy”. Teaching them to make every customer experience fantastic is a never ending challenge. To encourage our staff to stay, we offer supplemental insurance through AFLAC and a simple IRA program that we do matching funds to.
Managing the evolution from a “simple” Specialty Coffee Shop to a full day and night gathering place for the community is a huge challenge. Older regular customers got upset as we brought in live music because they felt it was a distraction. New customers come in because we offer a new type of entertainment. Adding alcohol to support the evening business without becoming “A BAR” is a Rubik’s Cube.
But the history books are full of great businesses Large and Small that have gone out of business by not changing what they do and meeting the changing needs and expectations of their customers. Woolworth’s and Sears both had the tallest buildings in the world at one point, and are both out of business (or close to it). Independent businesses usually fail because the owner either does not understand business, or how to match their passion for the business with the customer’s needs.
Question: Is there anything else you'd like to share with a wider audience about Copper Coin?
Answer: Our focus is on the community. We want community groups to come and use our conference room (Community Room) and offer discounts to them.
We are dedicated to supporting the arts. Live music, Local artists.
We host Coffee with a Cop and are starting up “Friday with a Fireman” to encourage better understanding within our area.
And, I am not allowed to make any coffee. My first week, I was learning to make our drip coffee (as do all starting team members). Everything went well but the coffee came out REALLY weak. The barista I was training with pointed out that next time I should grind the beans first!
I live within my limitations.