If you've ever taken the subway in New York, you're well aware of the fact that there may be an extremely dirty Dunkin Donuts or a run down bodega (that's New Yorker for general store) in the underground part of your commute. However, there's a new coffee shop in town..Voyager Espresso, located in the Financial District at the Fulton Street station, which is giving a new name to subway retail.
The new speciality coffee bar is owned by Australian Aaron Barnard, who wanted to create a space and experience that encompassed both the art & science of coffee making. To keep the space interesting and enticing to many of the same commuter traffic, Barnard sources coffee from a different roaster every week, ranging from Portland, Oregon, to the opposite side of the world.
3 Things to Take Away:
1. Category expansion is a real problem for many retailers, especially in large urban areas. Voyager has differentiated itself from many other coffee shops like itself by bringing its product closest to where thousands pass every day, for a quick cup of coffee in a setting that's MUCH more ideal than that Dunkin Donuts that smells like death 2. Underground retail in large transportation hubs is becoming more and more premium. Not only are we seeing coffee, but clothing, automotive, and even lingerie! (the nice kind, not the $5 pair from Walgreens). Trasnportation hubs like New York's Oculus and London's Waterloo Station are changing the game. 3. Small spaces don't have to be stuffy. While the underground space is less than large, Voyager has managed to pack in a large coffee bar centralized in the back of the space, along with 13 seats placed around the shop, including a half-moon circle bar in the front of the space. Bigger isn't always better, and in this case, the expert space planning allowed Voyager to maximize use of space without paying chaotic rent prices for a traditional storefront.
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