Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Worst Coffeeshop in Town - Richmond Heights Arabica

I like coffee. A lot. But I'm generally not a coffee snob. I buy my fair trade, special harvest blends to brew in my coffee maker at home, but I can just as easily drink a cup of coffee from my employer's cafeteria and be satisfied. (As long as they have Splenda. No Splenda = a wrath like you've never seen.)

But I have to complain about a coffee shop in my neighborhood - Arabica in Richmond Heights. Before I start my rant, let me say that I've always liked Arabica coffee. Before I got my ridiculously awesome Keurig brewer and before I moved to where I live now, I stopped at Arabica in Euclid nearly every day. The people working there were friendly. There was good music playing on satellite radio. There was cool artwork to purchase and comfortable seats to hang out int.

Richmond Heights Arabica has none of these things. (Which is sad because there used to be a great Arabica in a different location in Richmond Heights that has since been replaced by a pizza parlor.) Not only are the walls bubble-gum pink, but they're covered in cheesy "coffee" related signs and artwork, a la TGIFriday's. To make matters worse, there are small, uncomfortable looking restaurant tables everywhere...with seats covered in plastic! Plastic! Who does that out in public?! I've seen plenty of little old ladies do that to their couches...but why would a business owner ever thin that's a good idea. Ugh.

For a reason that I can't explain, I decided to stop at this Arabica over the weekend to grab an iced coffee. A simple request right? Every fast food joint around is advertising their iced coffee.

Not so much.

I encountered a clueless cashier and the owner who is probably a nice person but isn't a coffee lover. And it shows. Between the two of them, it was a struggle to figure out how to make an iced coffee. (An iced coffee that I ended up throwing away after one sip because it was so bad.) It was such a disappointing experience.

I want to like this coffee shop. I drive past it every day. I'm sure the owner had a great concept in his mind for his Arabica before he opened it - a nice little coffee shop that sells a lot of food. (they really tried to get me to order some food when I was there) But they're totally missing the mark on attracting even moderate coffee drinkers. Perfect the coffee concept and then try to bring in food business. Not the other way around! Please, Mr.Arabica franchise owner. Focus on your store's core competency and then try to become a food service millionaire.

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