How to Open a Coffee Shop in New York

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

You don’t have to do it alone – or pay hefty franchise or coffee school fees.

Instead, learn how to start a prosperous coffee business in New York through our proven 7 Steps to Coffee Shop Success process.

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

We’ve won major awards for coffee quality and sourcing, including Roast magazine’s 2016 Macro Roaster of the Year and multiple Good Food Awards.

Plus, our experienced coffee shop startup consultants have helped over 300 entrepreneurs – including six from New York – open and grow their cafes.

Owners of shops in New York cities and towns – including Brocton, Clayton, Lakewood, New Rochelle, New Hartford, and Portville – have learned how to open a coffee shop through our 7 Steps to Success coffee shop startup program.

Through our program, we can help you develop a strong coffee shop business plan and provide insight into how coffee shop startup costs in your New York 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, coffee shop products and drink recipes 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!

New York is a Terrific State to Open a Coffee Shop!

With only 13 major coffee chain locations per 100,000 residents in New York, there’s plenty of opportunity to open and run a successful independent coffee shop in your local community.

New York ranks 17th in coffee shops per capita, according to a study by Zoma Sleep. The study counted 4,976 New York residents for every coffee shop in the Empire state.

Considering that New York has over 19.5 million residents, and 62 percent of Americans drink coffee, it’s safe to say there’s room for many more coffee shops in the Empire State 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 25-39-year-olds.

Small New York Cities and Towns Present Big Opportunities

With many counties in New York underserved by major coffee chains, it might pay to consider starting a coffee shop in a small city or town outside of major metropolitan areas such as Albany, Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse, and Yonkers.

Many cities and towns in New York’s 62 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? Would you like to be the result that comes up when people in your part of New York search for “coffee near me?” Read on to learn more about how to start a coffee shop in New York.

New York is Open for Small Business

downtown in small new york townWith the third-largest economy in the USA and the third-best access to venture capital, New York is a terrific place to open a coffee shop!

Home to over 623,159 small businesses, the State of New York focuses on creating an environment where entrepreneurs can thrive.

Small businesses form a substantial portion of the New York State economy. About 98 percent of businesses in the state have fewer than 100 employees.

You can find a wealth of resources covering business formation and operation on the Start a Business in New York State website.

This website assists small and medium New York businesses with:

  • Choosing a legal business structure (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 and obtaining insurance.

The New York Small Business Development Center provides high quality, confidential business counseling, training, and business research at no cost to over 25,000 small businesses each year.

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 and operating costs
  • Designing an efficient shop layout
  • Choosing an espresso machine and other coffee shop equipment
  • Training your baristas
  • Finding a pos system
  • 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 that 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.

New York Coffee Shop Owners Recommend the 7 Steps to Success

Our 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 two New York customers say.

St. Stephen’s Café, Brocton, New York – Founded 2018

Ribbon cutting at St. Stephen's Cafe in Brocton, New YorkManaging Directors Stewart and Tammy Thompson of Breathe Life of WNY, Inc. felt a community gathering place was essential to the organization’s mission.

“Having a coffee shop was a perfect answer to bringing a fun place that was open to all ages to town,” Tammy said.

“We’re striving to offer hope in love, hope in community, hope in economics and hope that this little town is important to someone.”

The couple applied a diverse body of work experience to their goal of opening St. Stephen’s Café in November 2018.

Stewart has been a pastor since 1991. Much of his career has focused on working with lives in crisis due to divorce, addiction, depression and anxiety.

Tammy has worked for large corporations, small businesses and non-profit, church and ministry roles. She used her experience in property and operations management in planning the coffee shop.

They knew from the start that Crimson Cup would be their coffee supplier. “A friend of mine started with Crimson Cup,” Tammy said. “I loved her coffee and made her establishment like my second office.”

“When I knew that we would be coming to New York to open a coffee shop, I knew exactly what coffee I wanted,” she added.  “What we received was so much more. The help on design, purchases and guidance along the way has helped us become successful.”

She said she found the book’s template for a coffee shop business plan most helpful. “The business plan helped us articulate to a community who were skeptical, donors who were unsure and personal financiers that we were legit.

“It’s entirely different trying to formulate the words on your own versus having help with terminology and presentation.  Crimson Cup helped us knock that out of the park!”

The Thompsons chose a historic building built in 1865 to house their café.

“It originally operated as The American Hotel, but was later renamed the St. Stephen’s,” Tammy said. “It traditionally ran as a bar/restaurant. Our inspiration was to convert it to a coffee shop so that all ages could enjoy a community environment.”

“We continued with the name of the St. Stephen to encourage the location to ‘live up to its name,’ which in the Christian faith was the first martyr of the faith,” she added. “He was social minded, full of the Holy Spirit and cared for the needs of widows, women and children.”

St. Stephen’s serves a full menu of hot, iced and frozen espresso drinks – including mochas, lattes and cappuccinos – as well as iced coffee and tea, cold-brewed coffee, hot chocolate, fruit smoothies and other custom drinks. An assortment of fresh baked goods rounds out the menu.

Tammy Thompson said local java lovers love the coffee, which is roasted by Crimson Cup. “They’ll say, ‘Man, this is good coffee!’ Some are still learning that with a good coffee you don’t need all that other ‘stuff’ to wash out the flavor of the bean.  We are certainly helping them see that there is more than just a cheap latte.”

Calabria Coffee, New Hartford, New York – Founded 2021

Calabria coffee ribbon cuttingThe opening of Calabria Coffee in the heart of the Village of New Hartford, New York realized a six-year dream for Owners Bryce and Erika Lamberto.

“After several years working in the hospitality industry in Las Vegas, building our own coffee shop was a big passion project for us!” Erika said.

A few months after moving to Bryce’s hometown of New Hartford, the couple began planning their coffee shop.

Looking for a coffee supplier and business consultant, they discovered Crimson Cup through Coffee Chaos in Erika’s hometown of Midland, Michigan. This independent coffee shop opened in 2004 through our coffee shop startup program.

“We knew right away we wanted Crimson Cup to be our coffee partner!” Erika said.

The Lambertos found Step One, Focus on the Location, the most valuable of the 7 Steps. “Without an excellent location, the rest might not have come together or been possible for us.”

Supporting the New Hartford community was a key goal for the Lambertos.

“Growing up here, there wasn’t a place where people could hang out,” Bryce said. “So, we created one!”

“Other than making high-quality beverages and providing excellent customer service, supporting our community is a top priority. Our goal is to be more than just another coffee shop; we want to have a positive impact on people and our community.”

The coffee shop takes its name from Italy’s Calabria region, the ancestral home of the Lamberto family. Interior décor includes several call-outs to the region.

New Hartford coffee drinkers love the coffee, roasted by Crimson Cup.

“We hear all the time that it’s better than the coffee chains,” Erika said.

One Facebook reviewer proclaimed, “I’m here to write a rave review about Calabria Coffee!!! The place is beautiful, classy, black and white interior… But the best was the coffee and the fabulous service.”

Working with Crimson Cup helped put Calabria Coffee on the path to growth, she said. “The amount of support and guidance we received was so instrumental in the initial success of our business.”

Bryce offered this advice for prospective coffee shop owners: “Take it one step at a time, follow your intuition, and don’t let anyone else dictate your future or tell you your dreams or goals aren’t achievable.

“Anything is possible when you don’t give up and keep moving forward.”

Ready to Start Your New York 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 New York?

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.