There’s a coffee-come-bookshop near me called Segrue Books. It’s a great store, it has a small selection of well curated books and a few gifts. It also sells great coffee. The espresso is miles ahead of Caffe Nero and Costa Coffee, which are both nearby.
This morning I was early for an 8:30am appointment nearby and hadn’t had a coffee yet. I remembered from Twitter that Segrue opened at 7am – perfect – park outside, good espresso, rattle through a few emails then head to my appointment.
I pushed on the locked door and the chap inside kindly came over and said sorry but they open at 9am. I said I thought they opened early and he said yes, they used to but no one ever showed up.
The nearest between Caffe Nero and Costa is Costa so I walked up there, noticed they open at 7:30am so sat and had an ordinary espresso. In the 15 minutes I’ve been sitting here 23 customers have come in and paid for coffees and croissants.
So the question isn’t whether an early start works (it clearly does, even just 50 yards away) it’s why – really why – did Segrue Books stop doing early starts?
If you’re making something people want – and you want to do that – then they will show up.