How to Open a Coffee Shop in Iowa

welcome to iowa sign

If you want to learn how to open a coffee shop in Iowa, you’ve come to the right place!

You don’t have to go through the coffee shop startup process alone – or pay hefty franchise or coffee school fees.

Instead, learn how to open and run a successful coffee shop in Iowa through our proven 7 Steps to Coffee Shop Startup Success process.

Why listen to our advice? We have decades of coffee industry experience since our founder started roasting coffee in 1991.

Over three decades, we’ve won major awards, including Roast magazine’s 2016 Macro Roaster of the Year as well as several Good Food Awards and a championship at Golden Bean North America.

Plus, our experienced coffee shop startup consultants have helped entrepreneurs across the USA – most with little or no coffee shop experience –  open more than 300 coffee shops in 30 states.

Using the 7 Steps process and our consultants, we can help you develop a strong coffee shop business plan  and provide insight into coffee shop startup costs in your Iowa community.

As a one-stop shop for independent coffee shop owners, Crimson Cup can also help you find a terrific location, lay out your shop, hire and train staff, market your shop, and more.

You’ll also gain access to award-winning coffee and coffee shop products that will keep your customers coming back!

Keep reading to learn more or call 888-800-9224 now to connect with our coffee shop startup consulting team!

Iowa is a Terrific State to Open a Coffee Shop!

With just five major coffee chain locations per 100,000 residents in Iowa, there’s plenty of opportunity to open and run a successful independent coffee shop in your local community.

Iowa ranks 30th in overall coffee shops per capita, according to a study by Zoma Sleep. The study counted 6,327 Iowa residents for every coffee shop in the The Hawkeye State.

Considering that 62 percent of Americans drink coffee, averaging three cups per day, it’s safe to say there’s room for more coffee shops in Iowa to serve both residents and the millions of annual visitors from other states and countries.

And, according to the National Coffee Association, coffee drinkers are flocking to espresso-based beverages brewed from high-quality beans.

Consumption of cappuccinos, lattes, and mochas has increased by a staggering 50 percent since 2015, driven in part by strong popularity with 25 to 39-year-olds.

Small Iowa Cities and Towns Present Big Opportunities

With many parts of Iowa underserved by major coffee chains, it might pay to consider starting a coffee shop outside of the largest cities of Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Sioux City, and Iowa City.

Many cities and towns in Iowa‘s 99 counties lack a gathering place where locals can get together over a cup of coffee.

Does your Iowa community need an independent coffee shop? And would you like to be the result that comes up when people in your part of Iowa search for “coffee near me?” Read on to learn more about how to start a coffee shop in Iowa.

Iowa is Open for Small Business!

Small businesses in a small Iowa townRanked 5th best for lowest business costs in the USA, Iowa is a great place to open a coffee shop!

Home to more than 272,000 small businesses accounting for more than 99% of all businesses in the state, Iowa focuses on creating a business-friendly environment where entrepreneurs can prosper.

You can find a wealth of resources covering business formation and operation on the State of Iowa government website.

This website assists small and medium-sized Iowa businesses with:

  • Starting a business
  • Taxes
  • Workforce
  • Choosing a legal business structure. Many coffee shops operate as sole proprietorships or limited liability corporations (LLCs).
  • Getting a business license and various other licenses and permits, including local health department licenses for food establishments.

The Iowa Small Business Development Center also assists entrepreneurs who want to start or grow a small business. Experienced business professionals offer management advice, financial analysis, marketing support, and more.

Get a Head Start with Our Coffee Shop Startup Consultants

Training a barista As a coffee roaster and coffee business consultant, Crimson Cup believes our company only succeeds when our customers do.

We support coffee shop owners at every step, from concept through opening day and beyond.

A one-stop shop for independent coffee shops, Crimson Cup supplies award-winning coffee and industry-leading coffee shop equipment and supplies.

Based on the book, Seven Steps to Success: A Common-Sense Guide to Succeed in Specialty Coffee by Crimson Cup Founder and President Greg Ubert, our program covers everything business owners need to run profitable coffee shops:  

  • Writing a sound business plan
  • Choosing a terrific location
  • Calculating startup and operating costs
  • Designing an efficient shop layout
  • Choosing an espresso machine and other coffee shop equipment
  • Training your baristas
  • Marketing your shop to attract customers
  • And much more.

Backed by over 30 years of specialty coffee know-how, our 7 Steps to Success program has taught hundreds of entrepreneurs in over 30 states how to open and run successful independent coffee shops.

We love small businesses. We believe small businesses build communities in ways that big businesses can’t and that being part of a community can be the most rewarding part of independent business ownership.

To learn more about how members of our community became successful in their communities, check out our testimonials.

Iowa Coffee Shop Owners Grow with the 7 Steps to Success

Our coffee shop customers in Iowa say they saved time and money and grew their coffee business faster by following our 7 Steps to Success.

But don’t take our word for it. Hear how we’ve helped Iowa customers grow and even sell their coffee shops.

The Coffee Attic & Book Cellar, Iowa Falls, Iowa – Founded 2001

coffee attic and book cellar in Iowa FallsFor over 20 years, The Coffee Attic & Book Cellar has provided a cultural hub in Iowa Falls, Iowa – a place where people can come to socialize, appreciate local art, have a bite to eat, enjoy a great cup of coffee, and relax.

This award-winning coffee shop features a coffee shop in the upper level (Coffee Attic) and a bookstore on the lower level (Book Cellar).

Original owners Bob and Jan Morton opened The Coffee Attic through our 7 Steps to Success program.

After joining The Coffee Attic team in 2006, Kat Bissell spent the next decade learning about coffee from the Mortons and Crimson Cup and worked her way up to manager.

She and husband Pat Bissell bought the shop in 2016.

Relationships Responsible for Success

Kat credits the coffee shop’s success to relationships with customers, baristas and Crimson Cup.

“We are a small community that supports one another,” she said.

“Our regulars say it feels like home. We have even played a part in two engagements!”

With a large loft, the shop has space to host study groups, meetings and parties for many local groups and charities.

“As a few examples, we present a poetry night for a local school, hold food pantry fundraisers and host local artists and wineries for our town’s Art/Wine Walk,” Kat said.

The shop also collaborates with home-based businesses. “We give them a space to sell their products, and they give us quality products from local vendors.”

Kat says building her barista team into a family has promoted the shop’s success. “Many of my former employees come back to see me whenever they are in the area, and I have traveled lots of miles to see them as well.”

Under Kat’s management, the business has grown through new coffee innovations and by opening a second location called the Coffee Attic Corner inside Hansen Family Hospital.

“We take great pride in continuing the dream Bob and Jan Morton made 20 years ago,” she said.

Asked to advise other prospective coffee shop owners, Kat said to look at Crimson Cup.

“I can count on the 7 Steps team for advice and guidance,” she said. “Crimson Cup has a great reputation and stands by their products.

“I trust the research that goes into the supplies we get from them and know they will be there whenever I need them.”

Making Global Connections through Coffee

coffee attic and book cellar owners in HondurasApart from vital connections in the local community, Kat says travel—to Crimson Cup’s Innovation Lab for education, to other coffee shops and to coffee-growing countries—is one of her favorite aspects of owning a coffee shop.

The couple has visited some of the coffee farms and coffee processing plants in Siguatepeque, Honduras, that produce coffee for Crimson Cup.

They have funded a scholarship for student education and have done fundraising for and traveled to build a home for a coffee worker and his family.

“Traveling to coffee-growing countries and meeting other coffee-shop owners has taught me that community does not end with our town,” Kat said. “We have made connections all over the world!”

Visit The Coffee Attic and Book Cellar

Kat and Pat Bissell invite everyone in Iowa Falls and Hardin County to stop by their coffee shop.

The Coffee Attic is open six days a week at 604 Washington Circle in Iowa Falls. For the latest news and updates, follow their Facebook Page.

Ready to Start Your Iowa Coffee Shop Journey?

7 Steps to Success coffee shop startup guide Begin by reading the book that put hundreds of other coffee shop owners across the USA on the road to success!

Backed by a risk-free guarantee, Seven Steps to Success: A Common-Sense Guide to Succeed in Specialty Coffee lays out a map for opening and running a thriving coffee shop serving your local community.

Inside the book, you’ll find a proven template for creating a solid coffee shop business plan, plus guidance on everything you need to get up and running.



Questions About Opening a Coffee Shop in Iowa?

We can help. Call 888-800-9224 to connect with our coffee shop startup consultants during regular business hours (Eastern time). Nights and weekends, you’re welcome to fill out this form and we’ll get back to you within one business day.

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  • FAQ’s

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