How to Open a Coffee Shop in Kentucky

welcome to kentucky sign

Welcome to our guide on how to open a coffee shop in Kentucky! You’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to go through the startup process alone or pay expensive franchise or coffee school fees. Instead, use our proven 7 Steps to Success process to achieve your dream of opening a coffee shop in the Bluegrass State. Why follow our guidance? Our team has over 30 years of coffee industry experience, starting in 1991 when Founder and President Greg Ubert began roasting coffee. We’ve won major awards, including Roast magazine’s 2016 Macro Roaster of the Year and multiple Good Food Awards. These awards recognize our exceptional coffee quality and sourcing, which we take great pride in. Plus, our experienced coffee shop startup consultants have helped over 300 entrepreneurs – including two from Kentucky – open and grow their independent coffee shops. With our direction, you’ll be on your way to opening a successful coffee shop in no time! Owners of shops in Kentucky cities and towns – including Louisville and Whitley City – have learned how to open a coffee shop through the 7 Steps to Success. Through this program, our coffee shop startup experts can help you develop a strong coffee shop business plan and calculate coffee shop startup costs in your Kentucky community. As a one-stop shop for independent coffee shop owners, Crimson Cup also can 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 quality 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 consulting team!

Kentucky is a Terrific State to Start a Coffee Shop!

With only four major coffee chain locations per 100,000 residents in Kentucky, there’s plenty of opportunity to open and run a successful independent coffee shop in your local community. Kentucky ranks 47th in coffee shops per capita, according to a study by Zoma Sleep. The study counted 8,527 Kentucky residents for every coffee shop in the Bluegrass state. Over 62 percent of Americans drink coffee, averaging three cups per day . So it’s safe to say there’s room for many more coffee shops in Kentucky. 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!




Small Kentucky Cities Present Big Opportunities

Small business storefronts in Bloomfield KentuckyWith many counties in Kentucky underserved by major coffee chains, it might pay to consider starting a coffee shop in a small city or town. Of course, there are still opportunities in major metropolitan areas such as Bowling Green, Covington, Florence, Frankfort, Georgetown, Lexington, Louisville and Owensboro. Many cities and towns in Kentucky’s 120 counties lack a gathering place where locals can get together over a cup of coffee. Does your city or town need an independent coffee shop? Read on to learn more about how to start a coffee shop in Kentucky.





The Bluegrass State is Open for Small Business

Learn how to open a coffee shop in Kentucky Kentucky is a terrific place to open a coffee shop! The state offers low taxes, affordable real estate, vibrant communities and a well-established workforce. In fact, it’s ranked tenth among the states for lowest cost of labor. Home to over 355,998 small businesses, Kentucky focuses on creating an environment where entrepreneurs can prosper. Through the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the Bluegrass State offers export grants, tax credits, and capital funding to help small businesses establish a foothold in the business world. You can find a wealth of resources covering business formation and operation on the Kentucky One Stop Business Portal. This website assists small and medium Kentucky businesses with:

  • Choosing a legal business structure (note: many coffee shops operate as sole proprietorships or limited liability corporations.)
  • Getting a business license and various other licenses and permits, including local health department licenses for food establishments.
  • Dealing with business responsibilities, like filing taxes.

The Kentucky Secretary of State’s website offers a variety of resources related to business filings, records, trademarks and links to other Kentucky offices that may be helpful. The Kentucky Small Business Development Center also offers services including business planning and coaching to help you start, grow and sustain your business. These resources can help you get started with food and beverage business basics. But to learn how to start a coffee shop in Kentucky, give our coffee shop startup experts a call at 888-800-9224.

Get a Head Start with Our Coffee Shop Startup Experts

Training a baristaAs a coffee roaster and coffee business consultant, Crimson Cup believes our company only succeeds when our customers do. As a result, 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 costs
  • Estimating operating expenses
  • 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.

Kentucky Coffee Shop Owner Recommends the 7 Steps to Success

Crimson Cup’s coffee shop customers 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 what one Kentucky customer has to say.

Bradley’s Gourmet Coffees and More, Whitley City, Kentucky – Founded 2014

The owners of Bradley's Gourmet Coffees & More learned how to start a coffee shop in Kentucky from Crimson Cup Coffee & TeaSince 2014, Bradley’s Gourmet Coffees and More has brought members of the local Whitley City, Kentucky community together for terrific coffee, conversation and baked goods. “Our motto from the beginning has been, ‘Building our community, one cup at a time,’” said Owner Nina Bradley. “Our customers have learned – as we have – what an important role coffee plays in bringing our community together.” Nestled in the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest, Bradley’s offers a comfortable seating area and a drive-thru for coffee lovers on the go. It is the only specialty coffee shop serving the 17,000 residents of McCreary County. Bradley and Manager Samantha Tapley learned how to open and run the coffee shop through our 7 Steps to Success program.



Crimson Cup is ‘Always on Top of Anything We Need’

Bradley said Crimson Cup has been nothing short of amazing. “Owning a small coffee shop entails a lot more than most people realize, and Crimson Cup has always been on top of anything we need. “When we have a question or concern, they get back to us in no time,” she added. “If we have a concern, our Crimson Cup team is always quick to ask, ‘What can we do to help?’” “We couldn’t have made it without Crimson Cup.”

The Best Part of Owning a Coffee Shop

Bradley said the best part of owning her own coffee shop has been watching it grow from 25 to 30 customers a day to 25 to 30 customers in less than an hour. “The growth is something you don’t always notice until one day you look around and realize – Hey! We’re onto something here.”

Customers Rave About the Coffee

signature espresso drink“Our customers LOVE the white chocolate mocha!” Tapley said. “Our signature drink is a white mocha with caramel drizzle, and we could keep the shop afloat if that were the only drink we were to serve,” she added. “One of our favorite things to hear is, ‘I’ve had white mochas all over the state, and none of them compare to yours.’”




Thinking About Opening a Coffee Shop? Just Go For it!

After years of success, Bradley shared thoughts for entrepreneurs who are thinking about opening a coffee business in Kentucky or any other state. “Just go for it!” Bradley said. “Owning a small, independent business has its challenges. But the success you will see shining in your community as a result of your being there is enough to pay everything off.” “Hit the ground running, but expect it to take some time,” she added. “When you love what you do, people take notice, and they’ll start to love it, too.”

Ready to Start Your Kentucky Coffee Shop Journey?

Begin by reading the book that put hundreds of other coffee shop owners 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 creating a thriving business 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 Kentucky?

Call 888-800-9224 to connect with our coffee shop consulting team during regular business hours. 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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