How to Open a Coffee Shop in North Carolina

Welcome to North Carolina sign

If you want to learn how to start a coffee shop in North Carolina, 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 North Carolina 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. Over three decades, we’ve won major awards, including Roast magazine’s 2016 Macro Roaster of the Year.

Plus, our experienced coffee shop startup consultants have helped eight North Carolina entrepreneurs open and grow their independent coffee shops.

Owners of shops in North Carolina cities and towns – including Ashville, Boiling Springs, Garner, Hampstead, Kannapolis, Lillington and Murphy– have learned how to open a coffee shop through our 7 Steps to Success coffee shop startup program. And there are more on the way!

Through our program, we can help you develop a strong coffee shop business plan  and provide insight into how much it costs to open a coffee shop in your North Carolina 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 consulting team!

North Carolina is a Great State to Open a Coffee Shop!

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

North Carolina ranks 40th in coffee shops per capita, according to a study by Zoma Sleep. The study counted 7,307 North Carolinans for every coffee shop in the Tar Heel state.

Considering that 62 percent of Americans drink coffee, averaging three cups per day, it’s safe to say there’s room for many more coffee shops in North Carolina.

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 Cities Present Big Opportunities

Town in North Carolina

With many counties in North Carolina 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 Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham, and Winston-Salem.

Many of the 532 cities, towns, and villages in North Carolina lack a gathering place where locals can get together over a cup of coffee.

North Carolina is Open for Small Business

With North Carolina ranked first in the USA by Forbes for ease of doing business, opening a coffee shop in the Tar Heel state is a superb choice for entrepreneurs! 

Home to over 800,000 small businesses, the State of North Carolina focuses on creating an environment where entrepreneurs can prosper.

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

This website assists small and medium North Carolina businesses with:

  • Starting a business.
  • Choosing a legal business structure (most coffee shops operate as sole proprietorships or limited liability corporations.
  • Registering your business with the North Carolina Secretary of State.
  • Getting a business license and various other licenses and permits, including local health department licenses for food establishments.

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

Get a Head Start with Our Coffee Shop Startup Experts

The Office Coffee & Wine Bar Southport North Carolia
The Office Coffee & Wine Bar, Southport, North Carolina

As 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
  • 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 – including North Carolina – how to open and run successful independent coffee shops.

North Carolina Coffee Shop Owners Recommend the 7 Steps to Success

Our coffee shop customers in North Carolina 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 a few of our North Carolina customers think about working with Crimson Cup.

Creek Coffee House in Lillington, North Carolina  Founded 2012

Creek Coffee House Lilington North CarolinaOwner Chess Royal opened Creek Coffee House in August 2012. He created the coffeehouse as a comfortable hangout for students from nearby Campbell University.

The former insurance agent had always wanted to have his own business. After researching how to open a coffee shop, he settled on Crimson Cup as his coffee partner.

“I did some research online and tried a lot of different products,” he recalled. “Crimson Cup seemed the best way to go because we got the training and everything all in one.”

Students and other customers can get their java buzz with a menu of hot, cold and frozen espresso drinks, including cappuccinos, lattes and the ever-popular Creek Mocha. Other menu favorites include frozen hot chocolate, fruit smoothies, chai lattes and hot and iced teas.

Comfortable seating and free Wi-Fi make Creek Coffee House the perfect place to hang out and study.

“The idea was for this place to be an extension of our home – that’s what makes us different,” Chess said. “I wanted the students to have a place to relax, to study and just hang out – if you want to read, come and read, and if you want to play some music, you can grab a guitar off the wall.”

Lorraine’s Coffee and Music, Garner, North Carolina – Founded 2014

Lorraine's Coffee and Musicserves Crimson Cup Coffee & TeaBluegrass performer Lorraine Jordan opened Lorraine’s Coffee and Music in 2014.

A resident of Garner since 1984, she created an inviting space for neighbors to gather over awesome coffee and a varied musical menu ranging from bluegrass to jazz. A large stage and green room showcase musicians.

“I have played music on the road all over the country for twenty-three years,” she said when the shop opened. “Now, I want to come home and play in my backyard.”

Lorraine’s features a full menu of hot and cold espresso-based lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, drip coffee, smoothies and hot and iced tea, as well as locally baked pastries and sandwiches. A drive-thru window caters to coffee lovers on the go.

The professional musician learned the ins and outs of operating a successful coffee house through our 7 Steps to Success coffee shop startup program.

Rare Bird Emporium, Murphy, North Carolina – Founded 2020

Kate and Pav Templeton in front of Rare Bird EmporiumAt Rare Bird Emporium in Murphy, North Carolina, guests sip exceptional coffee and tea while browsing an eclectic collection of handmade gifts by local artisans – plus new, vintage and repurposed items.

After operating a gift shop called In with the Old for a few years, Owners Kate and Pav Templeton decided it was time for an upgrade. They remodeled a new location using repurposed materials such as a grain silo and wood from their old shop.

Their mission was to create a community gathering place for Cherokee County. “After months of sheltering in place, we wanted our new store to be a safe place for people to feel comfortable and have conversations again,” Kate said. “Of course, nothing brings people together like coffee!”

Kate’s uncle Martin Mann suggested the new shop needed a beverage upgrade – offering specialty coffee drinks instead of self-serve java in air pots. The owner of Jitters Coffee House in Millersburg, Ohio, Martin recommended Crimson Cup, his long-time coffee partner.

The Templetons found Crimson Cup’s expertise invaluable in opening their business. “Coming from never having a business like this to creating a business plan and knowing that it was a proven concept reassured me we could do this,” Kate said.

Pav said he’s advise other owners to work with Crimson Cup from the very beginning. “We didn’t end up saving money doing it ourselves, because we had to go back and redo a lot of things. There were mishaps we could have avoided by having their guidance from day one.”

Rare Bird Emporium invites guests into a unique coffee and shopping experience. “We pride ourselves on serving specialty coffee in a friendly environment,” Kate said. “Our goal is to support other local craftspeople and businesses through the sale of retail items. We love seeing people reading books, relaxing, enjoying a terrific coffee drink.”

Ready to Start Your North Carolina Coffee Shop Journey?

7 Steps to Success: a Common-sense Guide to Succeed in Specialty CoffeeBegin 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? We’re here to help!

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 right back to you!