Back last August I wrote about two new drive-through coffee stands that had opened in our area – Curbside Coffee and Bella Latte. In that post I made the following prediction…
I suspect that… Curbside Coffee will be driven out of business by the newer, flashier Bella Latte.
This comment garnered me several hate e-mails from devotees of Curbside Coffee shortly after it was posted. However, it seems that my prediction has come true. Curbside Coffee seems to have closed its doors.
I personally have nothing against Curbside, and would have loved to have seen them be successful. Their coffee was good, and the people friendly. However, they had lots going against them. First, they didn’t have the deep corporate pockets of Bella Latte. Bella had placed large billboards out on I-85 and other locations and had hit the area with a marketing blitz. That takes capital.
Secondly, there was the problem with location. Curbside never had easy access. Quite frankly, unless you are familiar with the area, it could be hard to figure out how to get there. The chain-link fence was always less than inviting, and tended to lump the stand with the spooky-looking hotel/truck stop located just behind it. The fact that the building was an old re-purposed Dairy Queen did not enhance its image, either.
And finally, there were some marketing mistakes. For example, most places give you a punch card. When you get something like 10 punches, you get a free cup. Curbside did the same thing, except they built their punch system into a cup wrapper. Bad idea. Instead of a small card, you now had an oddly shaped, considerably larger piece of cardboard to keep track of.
As I stated before, I would have preferred that Curbside had made it. Competition is a good thing. However, now I’m curious to see if the second part of my prediction will come true, that people will tire of $4 coffee, and Bella will eventually shut down. I guess we’ll see.