I would probably be a terrible coffee shop owner. Just like with photo sessions – I keep giving it away for free. Maybe it’s a Dutch thing. Whenever someone comes to the house to do something for me, whether it’s cleaning, painting, building a deck or fence – I give them coffee, for free. The good stuff too – my coffee machine grinds the fresh roasted beans for every individual cup. And I pay them too. Giving out free coffee is just the right thing to do in my caffeine induced Dutch mind.
As a photographic artist I’m always looking for places to hang my work. Many small coffee shops feature local artists, and I’ve been in my share of them. Not to sound ungrateful, because I truly appreciate the wall space in busy cafes to showcase my work, but the funny thing is – I just realized none of them ever offered me a single cup of coffee while I was working up a sweat hanging my work. I usually show my work a month at a time and aim to visit regularly during that month – buying at least a cup of coffee every time, and usually something to eat, too. And when meeting friends I try to bring them to whatever place is currently featuring my work. So the coffee shop owner gets extra business, and free high quality art work for their walls. In return I get some good exposure, but no coffee. And exposure alone doesn’t pay the bills, or my coffees 🙂
Contrary to the small independent shops, most large corporate giant coffee chains don’t have local artists in their cafes. They get some form or mass produced pictures of coffee beans and machines for their walls. So while these guys won’t display my work, they usually do have community boards and are happy to hang posters of whatever art event I’m participating in next. So imagine my surprise when one of the store managers saw us hanging a poster, and asked whether we needed coffee for our next event. They kept their promise and provided me with fresh high quality coffee, as well as all the cups and condiments we needed for about 70 people. For free. Thanks Starbucks. Now for the rest of us, that’s something to think about.