How to Open a Coffee Shop in Ohio

Ohio outline in neon

If you want to learn how to open a coffee shop in Ohio, 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 Ohio through our proven 7 Steps to Coffee Shop Success process.

While helping you develop a coffee shop business plan, our coffee shop startup consultants can help you calculate coffee shop startup costs in your Ohio community.

Why listen to our advice? We know the coffee business and the Ohio business climate. An award-winning coffee roaster and coffee business consultant, Crimson Cup has been based in Columbus, Ohio since 1991.

Since then, we’ve guided 50 Ohio entrepreneurs in opening and growing independent coffee shops. And we help more open every year.

Owners of coffee shops in Ohio cities and towns – including Amherst, Athens, Barberton, Beverly, Bryan, Bucyrus, Canfield, Castalia, Cedarville, Cincinnati, Circleville, Columbus, Coshocton, Delaware, Eastgate, Edgerton, Fayetteville, Findlay, Greenville, Harrison, Hilliard, Hillsboro, Huron, Johnstown, Lima, Marietta, McArthur, Millersburg, Millersport, Monroe, Newark, Niles, Norwalk, Piketon, Powell, Reynoldsburg, Shelby, Springfield, Urbana, Valley City, Wadsworth, Wheelersburg, Willard, Wilmington, and Yellow Springs – have learned how to open a coffee shop through our 7 Steps to Success coffee shop startup program.

Keep reading to learn how to start a coffee shop in Ohio. Or call 888-800-9224 now to connect with our coffee shop consulting team!

Ohio is a Great State to Open a Coffee Shop!

Many small towns in Ohio lack a coffee shopWith its bustling cities and quaint small towns, Ohio is an ideal location for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to open their own coffee shops. The Buckeye State also has a thriving coffee culture, making it an inviting location for coffee shops.

Ohio boasts a population of over 11 million people – and they love their coffee! The average Ohioan drinks 19.8 gallons of Java per year.

At the same time, there are only three major coffee chain locations per 100,000 residents to serve the demand for quality coffee in Buckeye Country. The state ranks 33rd in coffee shops per capita, according to a study by Zoma Sleep. The study counted 6,582 Ohioans for every coffee shop.

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

Coffee reigns as America’s favorite beverage. In a National Coffee Association survey, 65 percent of all Americans drank coffee in the previous day.  Lattes, espressos, and cappuccinos are in a three-way tie for America’s most popular specialty coffee beverage.

Demand for quality coffee means there are plenty of opportunities to open and run a successful independent coffee shop in your local Ohio community.

Small Ohio Cities and Towns Present Big Opportunities

With many counties in Ohio underserved by major coffee chains, you might consider starting a coffee shop in a small city or town outside of major metropolitan areas such as Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown.

Many cities and towns in Ohio’s 88 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?

Barista wears Coffee+Community t-shirt
Barista at Lock No. 4 Coffeehouse

For Destiny and Matthew Schaad, the answer was yes! They opened Lock No. 4 Coffee in the small town of Beverly, Ohio, in 2021.

Although the shop is new, its history stretches back to 1841, when a spot along the Muskingum River in Beverly, Ohio welcomed Lock No. 4, an important link in the Ohio canal system that brought commerce and opportunity to the Mid-Ohio Valley.

The couple learned how to open and run their coffee shop through our 7 Steps to Success.

“I stumbled on Crimson Cup when I was searching for the foundation and knowledge I needed to open a successful coffeehouse,” Destiny recalled.

“I wanted more than just coffee, something that our community could benefit from while offering the incredible taste of coffee drinks in so many varieties. Crimson Cup delivered!”

She said she’s glad she took the risk of opening a coffee shop in such a tiny community. “It still sets Matthew and me back to watch customers flood the drive-thru day after day, and we continue to grow each month!”

Destiny recommends Crimson Cup to anyone who is thinking about opening a coffee shop. “It’s a must!” she said. “You won’t find any other system that flows the way the 7 Steps program flows.”

“Holy moly does this business have it together!” she added. “I am so overjoyed with the way each person I have dealt with has almost as much energy for my shop as I do myself. Crimson Cup is such a huge part of my success!”

Ohio is Open for Small Business

With the second-lowest cost of living among the states and the third-best access to funding in the U.S., Ohio offers a solid opportunity for opening a coffee shop. In 2022, Site Selection magazine ranked the state number six in terms of business climate.

Home to nearly one million small businesses, the State of Ohio focuses on creating an environment where entrepreneurs can prosper.

You can find a wealth of resources covering all aspects of business formation and operation on the Ohio Secretary of State website.

This website assists small and medium Ohio businesses with:

  • Starting a business.
  • Choosing a legal business structure, such as sole proprietorship, limited liability corporation or another corporate structure.)
  • Getting a business license and various other licenses and permits, including local health department licenses for food establishments.

The Ohio Small Business Development Center also provides free information needed to help you get started or continue on your entrepreneurial journey, including a startup guide, hiring guide and helpful checklists.

Get a Head Start with Our Coffee Shop Startup Experts

Sign for Millersport Coffee in Millersport, Ohio
Millersport Coffee opened in Millersport, Ohio in 2021. Owners Jenn and Tim Koenig also own Scioto Valley Coffee in Circleville.

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 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.

Ohio Coffee Shop Owners Recommend the 7 Steps to Success

Our coffee shop customers in Ohio 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 Ohio customers think about working with Crimson Cup.

Beans-n-Cream Coffeehouse, Cedarville, Ohio Founded 2000

Beans-n-Cream Coffee in Cedarville, OhioNow a second-generation family business, Beans-n-Cream has occupied a series of historic locations in downtown Cedarville, Ohio.

The shop got its start in a tiny, shared space in the 1880s-era Exchange Bank building. But when Owners Paul and Diane Cope, took the reins in March 2000, they moved to a larger location. Their daughter, Myndi Cope-Pergram, grew up working in the shop after school, taking over as General Manager in 2018.

Finally, in the spring of 2008, the newly renovated Exchange Bank building became Beans-n-Cream’s permanent home. Built in the 1920s, the building features the original bank vault, woodwork and stained-glass windows. Beans-n-Cream guests enjoy a glimpse of what life was like a century ago as they sip their espressos, mochas and enjoy breakfast and lunch dishes.

The shop acts as a gathering place for local coffee lovers. “We love being a part of our small community,” Myndi said. “It means so much to sponsor local soccer teams and advertise in school yearbooks.”

The shop just started delivering lunches to the local high school and elementary school once a week. “It gives them another option for lunch as well as a coffee a pick-me-up halfway through the day!” she said.

Overall, Myndi said the best part of owning a coffee shop is the contribution she’s able to make to the local community. “One of my passions is people,” she concluded. “I get to invest in customers and employees. I get to give them jobs so they can pay for college, save for European vacations, or buy their first car. “Our coffee shop allows me to touch so many lives!”

For those who are considering opening a coffee shop with Crimson Cup’s help, Myndi said, “Do it! You won’t be sorry. In 22 years, Crimson Cup hasn’t once steered us wrong. Their customer service is beyond amazing. And they do it all! They train, they service, they have parts, they never have left us hanging.”

“We succeed, they succeed. They are hands on every time we have reached out. Can’t imagine anyone else living up to that.”

5 Bean Coffee, Reynoldsburg, Ohio – Founded 2008

Crimson Cup customer Tracy Heitmeyer opened 5 Bean Coffee in Reynoldsburg, Ohio in November 2008, at the very beginning of the Great Recession.

“Without Crimson Cup’s help, I would never have been able to set up my shop as efficiently,” she said. “Frankly, I am not sure if I would have stayed in business.”

She said Crimson Cup taught her to focus on efficient drink making, costing things out, staff training and customer service.

“The staff training is priceless. My people know what they are doing and do it well,” she said.

“A focus on customer service is a big part of our success,” she added. “I can’t say enough about how important it is to nurture a culture of cooperation and pride in the shop.

After nearly 14 years of success, Tracy now works only a single weekly shift. “I enjoy the freedom from the daily grind,” she said. “My husband and I travel a bit, and I get to spend time with friends and family at my leisure.”

“I have a glorious life,” she concluded. “The shop has provided for me financially and keeps my heart happy!”

Scioto Valley Coffee, Circleville, Ohio – Founded 2009

Scioto Valley Coffee in Circleville Ohio
Three generations of coffee shop owners celebrate the 12th anniversary of Scioto Valley Coffee.

You could say Jenn Koenig, who owns Scioto Valley Coffee with husband Tim Koenig, grew up with Crimson Cup. When her mother started Scioto Valley Coffee through our 7 Steps to Success program in 2009, Jenn was a junior in high school. She worked as a barista after school and on weekends.

While attending Ohio University, she also pulled shots at Court Street Coffee, another Ohio Crimson Cup customer.

After earning a bachelor’s degree with a double major in communications and public relations, she worked for two marketing agencies.

Then, in 2018, she joined Crimson Cup as a Customer Growth Rep, helping 29 entrepreneurs open and run their own coffee shops. In all, she has supported 120 independent coffee shops and their owners.

The Koenig’s opportunity to own their own shop came in January 2020, when Jenn’s mother sold Scioto Valley.

Soon, they brought quality specialty coffee to their home community of Millersport on Buckeye Lake in Fairfield County.

“We wanted to give the community something to get excited about,” Tim Koenig said. “There’s nothing like terrific coffee to bring energy to a community. We’ve seen that in Circleville and are thrilled to see it happening again with Millersport Coffee.”

A lifelong coffee lover, Jenn says she believes coffee brings people together for the greater good. “The work Crimson Cup does at the corporate level with our farming communities carries through in the work we do with our customers, which in turn resonates with their customers. As a coffee shop owner, I see this even more clearly.”

Adam’s Flying Pig Coffeehouse – Wheelersburg, Ohio – Founded 2020

Ribbon Cutting at Adam's Flying Pig Coffee House in Wheelersburg, OhioRyan and Tammy Salmons dreamed of opening a coffee shop in Wheelersburg, Ohio for so long that family and friends said the shop would open, “When pigs fly.”

“Guess what … This pig is flying!” Tammy  said. Adam’s Flying Pig Coffeehouse opened September 4, 2020.

The coffee house got its start when Tammy and Ryan considered career choices for their oldest son, Adam, who lives with Autism.

A coffee shop seemed a perfect fit for Adam, who has an affinity for food service and loves going to different coffee houses when they travel.

Although Tammy loves coffee, it took a while for the stay-at-home mom of 20 years to get her “pig” to fly.

“I started researching excellent coffee and places that help people open a coffee shop,” she said.

“After looking at various partners and online schools, I chose Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea. They have award-winning coffee and a proven system for success.”

She said the detailed, hands-on training she received was invaluable.  “I never realized how much detail goes into outstanding quality,” she said.

“I also liked that we learned about the global supply chain and why it’s important to present the hard work of the coffee farming communities through Friend2Farmer,” she added.

Tammy had this advice for others who are thinking about opening a coffee shop:

“Plan well; don’t jump in without having a business plan. There can be lots of hidden costs if you’re not careful.

“Also, make sure to check reviews of potential partners and put your money into the best!”

Ready to Start Your Ohio 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 back to you within one business day.

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