Success Story: Kat’s Coffeehouse Launches in Gibsonia, PennsylvaniaAugust 25, 2023 (Published: June 10, 2023)
Something exciting is brewing in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania! Kat’s Coffeehouse has opened at 617 Warrendale Road, Suite E.
Owners Kathy and Todd Williams learned how to start a coffee shop through our 7 Steps to Success program.
April 25 Grand Opening
Allegheny County coffee lovers gathered to celebrate the grand opening of Gibsonia’s newest independent coffee shop. The day included a $1 special on all regal-sized specialty coffee drinks.
The new shop invites customers into a warm environment designed by Kathy Williams. Ample seating and free Wi-Fi invite guests to stay while they savor specialty coffee drinks, including espressos, mochas and lattes.
A drive-thru window caters to Gibsonia coffee lovers on the go. Locally sourced pastries, subs and ice cream round out the menu.
“We want to serve the best coffee and provide an experience that the customer remembers as extremely positive,” Todd Williams said.
“We focus on the details, from lighting to music, fiber internet to fast drive through. And we hire people who truly enjoy the dance of making outstanding specialty coffee drinks that make people happy.”
Meet Kathy and Todd Williams
kat’s Coffeehouse is the latest in a series of enterprises for the couple. Before venturing into coffee, the entrepreneurs made waves in kitchen textile design, the steel industry and retail clothing boutiques.
Kathy has worked in fashion since she started in retail at age 15. Before opening two Kat & Willie clothing boutiques in Pittsburgh, she spent 14 years designing kitchen textiles.
Todd sold more than three million aprons and tea towels designed by Kathy to retail stores such as HomeGoods, TJ Maxx and Marshalls.
Earlier in their marriage, he sold steel while Kathy raised their four children.
After the clothing boutiques got off the ground, the serial entrepreneurs needed something new to keep the momentum going. Then, encountering a local coffee shop for sale, they took a chance and made an offer.
The only problem? They had zero coffee experience.
“With no prior experience in the industry, we knew we needed a partner that truly understood coffee,” Todd Williams said.
Finding a Coffee Partner
Enter Crimson Cup. Our 7 Steps to Success program helps entrepreneurs achieve their dreams of starting and running thriving independent coffee shops.
We designed the program to help those with little or no coffee experience avoid typical pitfalls and become profitable as quickly as possible.
“I was researching coffee providers and got in touch with their amazing 7 Steps coffee shop startup consulting team of Scott Fullerton, Steve Bayless, Heather Syx and Dave Eldridge,” Todd said.
He then read Seven Steps to Success: a Common-sense Guide to Succeed in Specialty Coffee by Founder and President Greg Ubert. This book forms the foundation of our 7 Steps program.
“It was apparent from reading the book and talking to the consulting team that the business model Crimson Cup provides works,” Todd said.
As part of their due diligence, the couple visited our Crimson Cup Innovation Lab in Columbus, Ohio, where Kathy tasted a cup of black java with no additives. “It was the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had!” she exclaimed.
That was the deciding factor. “After an exhaustive three-month search, we knew we had found our coffee partner,” Todd said.
Through the 7 Steps, aspiring coffee shop owners master the complexities of the coffee industry. Our consulting team guides them through writing a coffee shop business plan, choosing a location, hiring and training employees, marketing to attract new customers and more.
“A big part of our mission is to help coffeehouse owners thrive at every step – from opening their shops to becoming a fixture in their communities,” Greg said.
As a one-stop shop for independent coffeehouses, Crimson Cup provides end-to-end support. 7 Steps customers receive access to award-winning coffee, workhorse espresso machines, other coffee shop equipment, and quality coffee shop products.
Ongoing Mentorship Helps kat’s Coffeehouse Thrive
“The 7 Steps team is outstanding,” Todd said. “Each of them knows this coffee business and shares your joy when you succeed.”
“Weekly calls with Steve and Heather and learning from Dave, whom I call the expert of experts, have helped us avoid so many mistakes,” he added.
Todd found ‘The Dance’ the most valuable guidance in the 7 Steps program.
“The Dance ensures that coffee service remains uninterrupted by ancillary food service, preserving the quality of customer experience,” he explained.
“We provide food items from local bake and sub shops, but these only complement the coffee and never slow down the coffee line. Our sales confirm this.”
Coffee and Service Win 5-Star Reviews
The coffee, roasted by Crimson Cup, is gaining a following among area coffee lovers.
“Customers say it’s amazing, the best coffee they’ve ever had. They even compare it to shops in Europe,” Todd said.
The company has received 20 five-star Google reviews in just over two months.
“This place is awesome!” wrote one reviewer. “I went for the first time today and was immediately greeted by a man named Todd. He shared with me that he was the owner and was just so kind and welcomed me in! The decor is really fun and cozy. I got an iced latte with oat milk and caramel drizzle, and it was great! Very smooth and not too sweet. They had lots of different options too. Will definitely be going back and bringing friends. Definitely check this place out!”
Thinking About Starting a Coffee Shop? Todd Williams Has Some Advice
After completing the startup process, Todd had several thoughts to share with others contemplating opening a coffee business.
“Don’t do it alone!” he said. “Do it with someone who shares when you win and helps when you need help. Most important – if you don’t have great coffee and training nothing else matters. Plus, work with a coffee business consultant that instills operations best practices so you can get to be profitable faster than doing it alone or just buying coffee from a roaster with a marketing pitch.”
Visit kat’s Coffeehouse in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania
Kathy and Todd Williams invite everyone in Allegheny County and beyond to visit kat’s Coffeehouse. The new shop is open seven days a week at 617 Warrendale Road, Suite E, in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania.
To learn more, visit the shop’s Google Business Profile.