Co-founder of “Coffee Inn”
AN OASIS ON EVERYCORNER
While culture is the natural complement to coffee, and take-out coffee is now the norm, the combination of these two often requires some effort: a trip to a bookstore, museum or gallery. Coffee Inn solves this dilemma by bringing the two together in one place: a venue to meet friends, browse books or admire some artwork, and their varied coffee mug designs add a personal touch to their service. Come, join us for a brew while we explore what makes this business tick:
What’s the scale of your operations? What ambiance are you going for?
Coffee Inn is the fastest growing cafe chain in the Baltics, founded by four entrepreneurs/coffee-lovers in Vilnius in 2007 and now operating 44 cafes in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. We deliver a unique blend of high quality take-away coffee, modern brewing techniques, and a “second home” atmosphere with a strong urban feel. We believe that a cafe is not just a place to buy and drink a coffee, it is a social place, too. Since its founding, Coffee Inn has quickly become the number one hotspot for locals, a perfect meeting place for young creatives and business people.
What was the main turning point in the business?
When a good idea found the right people at the right time! Three of us were working at a certain ad agency, and we had just come back from New York. I strongly recommend that everyone spend some time in New York because the city has a special energizing magic; that trip was the true catalyst that inspired us to do something different. When a fourth friend joined us, the question arose, “Why is there no quality coffee-to-go in Lithuania?” I think that all good businesses are born from that type of personal experience, when you really need something, but it’s not available. From the very beginning we had a clear vision of what we wanted Coffee Inn to be, and that’s what it is: a living, energizing icon of the city’s rhythm.
What’s your mantra?
I live by the principle, “Always challenge yourself,” which to me means always trying to improve, evolve and innovate. This is the principle upon which Coffee Inn was built. Sure, it’s not easy, but it brings with it a lot of interesting experiences, not the least of which is a certain rock ’n’ roll lifestyle. Another important belief is that in order to take, you should give.
What keeps you passionate and your business running smoothly?
Staying focused on our purpose and always challenging ourselves. At present, all the founding members are active parts of the team, which is an important factor of our success. Sure, we have to be flexible, but there is good chemistry and a diverse mix of talent among us. This allows us to create a solid business structure, one that avoids the pitfalls some “mom and pop” businesses experience.
As for passion, I’m totally in love with coffee and people, and here I have the rare opportunity to be passionate with work. I have a clear vision that “the pursuit of coffee” is a quest with no end, a lifelong journey, but it provides an opportunity to learn, to share what I’ve learned with others, and to broaden my own perspective. Seriously, the land of coffee is vast, and there’s much to be done.
What’s your advice to those who want to start their own businesses?
If you have an interesting idea and you truly believe it, just start. Don’t overthink it. It’s important not to miss those first moments when you’re really passionate and motivated. There will never be “the perfect time,” so sometimes you just have to go and make it happen.
I live by the principle, “Always challenge yourself,” which to me means always trying to improve, evolve and innovate.Nidas Kiuberis