Chapter 80: That time when we started the coffee shop
A few days later, I finished getting all sorts of permits and licenses needed to operate a store in Corundum. The store’s interior and the signboard were done and we’ve already decided on the prices for our products.
The store was located on the harbor side of the main intersection of the town, just one off the main street where the stalls were lined up. The pedestrian traffic in our area wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. The monthly rent was also fair so overall, it was pretty average.
「You would usually need to purchase the supplies to start but since we brought the coffee directly from the island for promotion, that one’s free. We produce sugar on the island but we might not have enough for our personal use so we’ll just buy some along with some cow’s milk. For the sweets, we need wheat and butter, won’t we? We can get all of those from a merchant that I know and I’ve already discussed it with him so we just need to show our faces there. Buying it from a wholesaler is cheaper after all. When you run out of stock, feel free to use the money we get from sales to resupply. There’s also the uniform. There’s the store that recommended clothes to our doctor, Antonio-san, in this town so let’s go there right now」
After saying that, I took the two of them to the clothing store.
「Welcome~. How can I help you?」
A lady greeted us when we entered the shop.
「Please give me four pairs of black pants and clean looking white shirts, ones that will fit the two I came in with」
After saying that, she went around the store then came back with several shirts and pants in hand.
「Hmmー, this, or this? How about this? Maybe this one?」
She began trying to pair the clothes she had as she said that.
We all discussed it and decided on something easy to move in.
After that, I had the two select a black vest that they liked and made them wear a black tie.
「Oh my, it’s surprisingly stylish」
「Well, that’s how it should be after all」
It has a strong image of a coffee shop owner.
「What are you using this for?」
「We’re opening a store that sells tea that’s not from around here」
「Really~? A shop that serves tea even though you’re meant to drink at home? You’re going to be selling it?」
「It’s not sure yet but we would experience a setback with our plans if we don’t sell it. It’s a tea that’s not from around here so we’re going to introduce it to everyone first. Once people start wanting to be able to drink our tea in their homes, they’ll come back to buy it in our store and the demand will be generated」
「Well, it seems like a complicated story so just let me know where the store is when it opens」
Because of that, I told her about the place called 『Coffee』 that’s located one street off of the main road.
The store’s name is the product name. It’s easy to remember and it’s also better than oddly being particular about it. It’s the same as that excavator called『Yu*bo』, that motorcycle from a certain country called 『Ka****』, and 『Su**ru』 that car company. 1
「Coffee……huh……? I got it. I’ll show myself there at least once」
After saying that, we paid for the clothes, thanked the lady then left the store.
With that finished, we went over to Nils-san’s place where we did our greetings and told him about our shop.
「Is it really alright that you’re not on the main street?」
「I want the store to give off a calming feel after all. Also, it’s expensive to get one on the main street」
「The second one is the true reason right?」
I answered him with a smile.
「Well then, please drop by next time」
「「Please take care of us at that time」」
After saying that, we left the warehouse.
Once we were back at the store, we had a meeting about our plans moving forward.
「I’ve already posted an advertisement for this store on the guild’s bulletin board. It will be taken down after thirty days but if we only get a few customers, please extend the duration for thirty more days」
「I’ll stay here for a few days to see how things go, but I’ll come to visit from time to time to check on the state of things after I go back. If you want to invite over a few of the islanders to come, I’ll be able to bring them with me during those visits. As for where you’ll stay, please find an apartment to rent that’s nearby. Also, I’ll be putting a rope in one of the corners of the breakroom/storage room where I’ll designate as a place I’ll use for the transfer magic so please don’t put anything in that area」
「Let’s get up a bit earlier tomorrow to check the foot traffic and decide when the best time to open the store」
After saying that, we put away the tables and chairs in the store then laid down the beddings.
「Ahー, if it’s too troublesome for you to rent a house, you can just sleep on the floor like this to save money」
「Uhm, it will be more troublesome to live like this so we’re going to rent a place」
「I see. Like I’ve said before, you are more or less free to use the money so go right ahead. However, please don’t run away with it okay? I don’t want to go through all the trouble tracking you down after all」
「Eh? Ah, okay」
「Well, if you just keep at it until you’re able to comfortably earn your keep, you can even decide to make a second branch of this store or something without asking me. That’s the level of freedom you have. Just don’t drag the coffee’s image down, please. It would cause trouble for everyone on the island if you do that after all. Well then, let’s go to bed」
I woke up a bit earlier than the others so once they were awake, we all went to the market where, even though it was still dark, people were already moving about and starting their preparations for their stalls.
The morning market starts really early, doesn’t it?
Then, once the sun started rising and it became just a bit brighter, they immediately opened up shop and started operating.
「So they open their stores at sunrise huh? Well then, shall we get something to eat?」
After that, it became lunchtime and the number of people that were in the port decreased as they all went to the food stalls and restaurants that were now crowded.
「We’re only going to serve sweets and tea so you can probably take a break during this time」
While we were here, we also did some advertising. I tied two planks with a string and wore them on my body then called out to people with a huge smile on my face. I was the sandwich man.
Everyone was laughing but I just didn’t mind it. Rather, it was conspicuous and gathered attention so it was pretty effective for promoting something.
「Hey you, young man over there. There’s a new tea you’ve never seen before you know~? It’s a little bitter but it’s good for your tired bodies and it’s effective against your sleepiness. Hey lady……」2
「It’s embarrassing」「How shameful」
It doesn’t seem like they were moved by that. Well, even if they weren’t, being conspicuous makes people notice you and that itself is a pretty great advertisement.
I wonder if there’s no concept of that kind of advertising in this world? It sounds great to me though. Is it because of cultural differences?
After that, once it became evening, the taverns quickly opened and some people immediately took that chance to start drinking.
「It might be a good idea to close up shop around this time, just as the sun starts to set」
We were done with our excursion so we decided to go back to the store.
「Well then, based on looking at the flow of people all day today, I think it would be best if we set our operating hours from just a bit before sunrise till sunset」
「That’s true. It might also be fine if we closed during lunchtime so that we can go out and eat」
「What about if there are people who want to come here to drink after they have their lunch?」
「How about we take turns eating then?」
「I’ll leave that part to you two」
On the day of the opening, I borrowed one of the man’s uniforms so that I could help out in the shop. I was only going to do miscellaneous tasks but I would intervene if there was a situation the two of them couldn’t handle.
I had to demonstrate the flow first though so I decided to stand at the counter.
The store’s menu was simple, it was just 『Coffee』 and 『The coffee set』.
I just included the day’s sweets in the coffee set to avoid any complications.
It would be a good idea to hire some staff to increase the number of snacks we serve but we can’t do that without our plans coming into fruition first.
Then, after a while, the bell that I attached to the door echoed throughout the store as it was opened.
「Welcome. Go ahead and take whichever vacant seat you would like」
「Okay~. I came before having breakfast」
As she said that, she sat down on one of the counter seats.
Our first customer was the lady at the clothes shop.
「Hmm~. There’s not a lot on the menu, is there?」
「Yes, We are still shorthanded and our staff is still inexperienced but we’re thinking of expanding it sometime in the future」
「I looked at the sign outside and it said today’s set has scones but I haven’t had breakfast yet so I’ll just get the coffee」
「One serving of coffee coming right up」
After saying that, I immediately started preparing it.
「That’s how you drink it huh? Hmm~」
She read the illustrated instructions on the wall after saying that.
・Drink it carefully. If you don’t, the finely ground bean powder will enter your mouth.
・It’s bitter so please add sugar if necessary.
・Once you add sugar to the drink, wait for a little while until it sinks.
・If you want a much smoother taste, add in some cow’s milk.
・If you want to be able to drink it at home, we can sell you the powder ground at the store but only a small amount to avoid it being spoilt. We will also teach you how to brew it. It is sensitive to moisture so please make sure to brew and drink the powder we sold as soon as possible.
「It’s alright for me to use up all of the sugar provided right?」
「Yes, however, it will be pretty sweet when you add it all in you know? I recommend adding just a bit at a time」
「Thank you for waiting」
After saying that, I gently placed the cup in front of her.
「So that’s how you make it, huh? I’ll try it without sugar first」
She took a sip then said.
「Hmー, it’s bitter」
Because of that, she added sugar to her drink. She stirred it slowly and waited for the powder and beans to sink before taking another sip.
「This might be enough for me」
Once she had finished half of her drink, she decided to try adding the milk. She added a little at a time before drinking it.
「Oh my, it became easier to drink. I prefer it like this」
After saying that, she finished up her coffee then went back.
We had a decent amount of customers in the morning. When the afternoon came, Nils-san arrived.
「I’ve dropped by」
He sat at the counter as he said that.
「I’ve just had lunch so a cup of coffee please」
「Certainly. A cup of coffee coming right up. Please wait a moment」
After saying that, I started preparing the coffee.
「I saw you attracting customers at the port you know? That was a unique way of advertising, wasn’t it? There are plenty of stores that are already imitating it to sell their products」
「Is that so? It’s nice to be the first one to do that」
「When I was told by an employee that there was a blue-skinned demonkin with wood strapped on his chest and back, I immediately thought of Caam」
「Well, I can understand why. I was also getting into it at that time」
After saying that, I served him his coffee.
「This is better than what I drank the other day, isn’t it?」
As he said that, he added sugar to his coffee then took a sip. He kept repeating that until it was just right for his tastes before adding milk and enjoying what was left.
「Now that I’ve figured out the right amount of sugar to add, I don’t have to go through all this trouble next time and just enjoy my drink right from the start. Anyway, how are things going? How are the customers?」
「Let’s see. It’s only our first day and it’s still an unfamiliar drink after all so I just hope that the ones who come spread word of it」
I cleared out the cups and washed them as I said that.
「We’ll see how things go for a while and hopefully the number of customers will slowly increase. It would be great if people would at least come here to have a drink during their breaks though」
After saying that, I delivered the coffee to the other customers’ tables.
「Well, if anyone asks me where to find the beans, I’ll refer them to you」
「Give me some beans to take back!」
「Certainly. Please give me a moment」
I scooped out the ground beans using a cup, put them into a bag then gave them to the customer.
「Thank you for your patronage」
「Your way of dealing with customers is different from other stores, isn’t it?」
「Well, that’s just how it is」
「Well then, I’ll also be taking my leave. Please give me a bag of beans as well」
「Of course. Please give me a moment…… Here you go, thank you for your patronage」
I handed the bag to Nils-san then he paid for everything before going back.
Our first day ended up being alright.
「Oi, what’s that?」
「That demonkin looks like he’s advertising the thing that’s written on that sign and those planks hanging on his body」
「Isn’t that embarrassing?」
「The two behind him look like they are though. I feel bad for them. What are they, some kind of spectacle?」
「What are they advertising?」
「Coffee? Seems like a new type of tea」
「Hoー, should we check it out?」
「Oi, don’t you think there are more people carrying planks today?」
「Ah, this time it’s not about a new tea. It’s various shops and the red light district promoting themselves」
「It certainly is bizarre and eye-catching so it’s great for advertising something. You can’t help but look at them after all」
「It really does seem like it works. Oh, I know that shop」
「They’re all pretty desperate. Seems like the three we saw the other day did some pretty effective advertisement」
「Have you been to that coffee place? How was it?」
「I’ve been there. If I don’t add too much sugar, I’ll feel awake. I also like how the store smells」
「I think it’s pretty good if you add milk and lots of sugar. The sweets go surprisingly well with the coffee as well. The price seems reasonable and you can go there for a short break」