Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Chain vs. Independent Coffeeshops (and Austin vs. Skokie) Epiphany

For the year plus, I was at Digital Bond I spent a lot of time working in small independent coffee shops close to Burnet Road. Pacha (not so much) Genuine Joe (quite a lot) and Russells (when I really needed to code, because they had no Wifi) and the place in the strip mall right close to 183 in between the Chilis and the Benihana whose name I can't remember (quite a lot, sometimes at the south location on Guadalupe).

It is probably more something about the true sense of community here in humble Skokie (with its authentic diversity, not the fake Whole Foods diversity, and no your tattoos don't make you any less white) compared to the segregated, self-congratulatory hippie-yuppie-vibe of Central Austin that a Panera bread (of all places, yes, I've got in the bad habit of stopping for coffee before I get on the Edens to make the trek up to Lincolnshire) can be such a warmer place to work. It probably also because the median age is not 25.

Yesterday the young African man working behind the counter saw my Cisco corporate polo and asked about "Cisco Network Engineer" jobs in America and this morning, always energetic manager (with some Eastern European accent, but not Russian) who greets most customers by first name after swiping my debit card asked if she should call me Matthew or David.

I guess I'm a regular now.

No comments: