Steve P. writes to let us know that Anna Bean’s Coffee and Gelato closed its doors this past weekend. I tried phoning Anna Bean’s but the phone number has already been disconnected. They only opened in October of 2007. Not even a year ago.

Steve says “It’s sad because the owners and all the staff were so nice and always welcomed conversation.” I only had a chance to visit once actually, it was recently, and everything looked great and they were happy. It’s unfortunate.

Steve also added “I know your readers already know this, but please remind them how important it is to support your local independent coffee shops; unless you like the taste of over roasted coffee.”

Arizona Coffee

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  1. Melissa

    Damn it. Such a shame. Their staff was super friendly and their product was also pretty good. Northeast Phoenix needed Anna’s Beans.

  2. I never heard of them, and I’ve looked all over Google and Google Maps for coffee shops in the North Scottsdale area.

  3. Jenny&Dan

    The owners were great and the staff, for the most part, was great as well! It is a shame and we agree that NE Phoenix NEEDS ANNA BEAN’S! Support Local Coffee Shops!

  4. tylerkno

    Man. . . . Thank you guys for your support. I’ll miss all you regulars and talking to the new people.
    I just wanna refer some people to another nice shop. 40th St. and Bell there is a shop called Mocha Biancha. check it out.

  5. It does not surprise me anymore. One independent coffee shop closing in a state with a rough summer and low foot traffic (also very low population by square mile). What surprises me is that once we know that, why aren’t business owners a bit more proactive about promoting there establishments.
    I am suprised of how simple is to have a web site and how many indies don’t even have one. It seems that only Tingom has the time to go and take a picture. If we think that we have better coffee than the chains, let’s tell our customers how good we really are.

  6. Phoenix Native

    I agree with Ron’s comment 100%. It’s like a lot of these business owners have some “If You Build It, They Will Come” mentality. No, I won’t come just because you build it. If you ADVERTISE and let people know you’re out there, and I like your place, I’ll go. I support local business whenever I can, but it’s a *two-way* street. Treat your place like a Starbuck’s that I’ll take for granted, and I will take it for granted. Treat it like an asset the community needs, and I’ll be there. I won’t patronize any locally-owned business who I don’t think’s an asset to this community. It’s that simple.

  7. I’m going to have to disagree sharply and strongly with both Ron Cortez and Mr. “Phoenix Native”.

    These shop owners have worked their hearts out and have done everything they know possible to keep their shops open…I have no doubt about that and it is awfully easy for non-shop owners who have no real financial interest in or anything to lose in commenting to speculate otherwise. I’m not saying every shop close is the result of “business success” but there are a lot of reasons why shops would close up business that have little to do with the amount of effort a business owner puts forward to try to keep the doors open.

    We recently closed our own shop in North Scottsdale and did so for a variety of reasons. One reason was we wanted to return all our efforts to our core business which is roasting the finest coffee on the planet.

    Other reasons do have to do with the local economy and the fact that things have slowed down tremendously quite apart from our own efforts in running the shop – business decisions in this economic environment are not always easy and smart business owners have to balance their efforts between what will keep their business working and prosperous over the long haul with the expectations of customers and the community. There isn’t one customer at our Grayhawk location that we wanted to part with – we considered all of them more than mere customers but friends and business partners and it was a privilege to get to know them over the last several years.

    But, some decisions in business are hard to make and hard to follow through with – and what I don’t appreciate is the sort of cynicism from others that tends to be overly critical and just has no way of looking at the bigger picture or helping business owners in any constructive way.

    A closed shop doesn’t necessarily represent business failure but even when it does it is so much more than that – it represents lessons learned and a new way of thinking and doing business that didn’t exist before.

    I salute the former or current coffeehouse owners that have had to or are having to make the hard decisions in business.

    My two cents for them: Don’t listen to the critics unless they have something of value to say that you personally appreciate. They don’t pay your bills and they’re not going too if or when times get rough.

    You’ve worked your heart out in your business. This isn’t the end for you or your business. It’s only the beginning – each and every day is a new day to succeed and success isn’t measured by what other people think of what you did or did not do nor is it a merely a matter of your bottom line.

    Success for you is something only you can define. Don’t let others give you some other wacky yardstick to measure yourself by–keep up the good work and you will succeed no matter what people say or what your circumstances wind up being in the short term!

  8. Mary Clark

    Wow! It took me a while reading these comments…

    What an awesome website this is, isn’t?
    A place where anyone can express itself, even if you agree or disagree… I love it!

    I agree 100% with people like Ron because it takes a while (a few years) for a NEW business to get the word out the door… therefore, owners better start the first day with aggressive campaigns, and have it on their business plan as a priority with an specific budget.

    And I agree with Kevin D. as… “Businesses are a life experience” and each is a success, even when it fails.

    But even a “well thought out” business, with key owners and great employees will need some aggressive tools and some one who can provide expertise advisement, especially, if they want to succeed against the multimillion chains.
    Chain = A lot of people with work-load distribution
    Independent = A few people with a lot of work to do.

    At the end… “Who knows what happened!”.
    I saw my favorite coffee shop (INZA) closed their doors, and only they know what was good for them.

    My best wishes to all those brave coffee shop owners for taking the gigantic risk of serving the community in the name of becoming “Independent”.

  9. This conversation wouldn’t be happening if everyone was at Ignite Phx and watched my “How to Run a successful coffee shop.”

    I am going to start doing coffee shop consulting. 😉

  10. Yeah…umm…part of what I am saying is you can still do everything right and have a hard or impossible time keeping the doors open. Some things are out of your control.

    I’m not saying that advertising is bad or that some (or all) of the stuff Austin mentions in his presentation isn’t important – just that speculating as to why someone shuts down when the reasons aren’t fully stated or available in some blog thread is going well beyond where anyone can reasonably go in giving helpful suggestions or criticism.

  11. For the record. I am very sorry that areopagus has closed shop. It was a good place and good luck with the venture of selling the best coffees on the planet. The fact that you referred to me as : “non-shop owner who have no real financial interest in or anything to lose in commenting to speculate otherwise” is not true.
    I had a coffee shop and I also have to close it to also pursue wholesale . I do business with 75 coffee houses and restaurants around town, so when they close I loose, in a way of loss of future sales and most of the time uncollected balances, but more important I see friends suffering. If one of my customers is not making it, I will do anything in my power to help. Yes, I do urge and sometimes push each one of my customers to have a website and to post pictures and events on this blog, because it gets read (I count this a constructive). Once you have posted something here, you will think that is easy and most likely will do it again. In this day and age to have a business and not having a web presence is just weird and to wait behind the counter for customers to show up is non-sense. In fact my apologies to the people of Anna’s beans, I am sorry they closed their store but I never read or saw them here.

    The most important thing for me is for people to feel that they have a fighting chance and that there are ways to increase traffic and sales even with a slow economy. Kevin I think that you misreed my comments or took them as they were directed to you and that was not the case. I like for us to view our customers going to our places because they are so amazing and good, not because they need help. But when sales are down is the time to sell.

  12. Ron,

    By “real financial interest”, I meant that someone either owns all or part of a coffeehouse and is not merely a vendor or supplier. I realize as wholesalers we have a financial and other interests in our customers’ shops, but it is much more limited than actually owning a coffeehouse. Sorry if that was unclear. It wasn’t really your comment that got me started on writing a response to this thread, but the following one that seemed to me to be just a bit harsh.

    Also, in regards to advertising – I just wanted people to avoid the impression that a lack of advertising in different forums necessitates failure in the case of coffeehouse businesses or that if a business does close it has to be because they did something wrong – like not advertising enough.

    In general, I agree with you that advertising is important and shouldn’t be neglected though I would say that the most important advertising is word of mouth by the business owner and the customers that come to love the shop they frequent. I’ll give you an example – recently Chris mentioned an article from the Arizona Republic that mentioned our shop and my blog and you would think that free press would be a good thing (and it usually is) – but the hard facts are that the article itself didn’t generate any more than 10 or 15 unique hits on my website and hardly any from this one (sorry Chris!). And so it is with any level of print advertising online or otherwise – the advertising has to be organic and natural for it to really work and be worth the money you put to it.

    In actuality, many shops can wind up closing because they spend too much money on things like advertising and not enough on quality products and making their shop a real home for customers. I know you know all these things and more (and I really wasn’t trying to be argumentative) but not everyone has been in the business as long as you or I. I wasn’t upset with what you said – I just wanted to bring ‘balance to the force’ if you know what I mean. 🙂

  13. Phoenix Native

    Kevin: It’s “critical” to expect the customer to be treated respectfully? I definitely go out my way help out several local coffee shops…I patronize their business, I bring other people with me…but, to reiterate my original point (which I didn’t realize would be so controversial), please treat me like I matter and you’re glad I left something in the tap jar. Is that too much to ask? That’s what “asset to the community” means. Like “Cheers.” Where everybody knows you’re name. How sad that such a simple concept has become so threatening to so many business owners.

  14. Mr. Anonymous Native,

    I don’t know where on earth you might get the idea that I don’t think that our customers are important or that coffeehouse owners in general think that way. I suppose there are some somewhere out there like that but they are few and far between as far as I know.

  15. Kevin. nothing but respect for what you and your wife have done for this industry. I wish you the best in wholesale. The harshness of my comments is drawn by a deep passion for the coffee houses to become beacons of culture in our community. I see nothing but a fight in order for the indie to evolve into that. Thank you for your contributions to this blog, I have larned a lot from you.

  16. Ron,

    I completely understand…I find myself as passionate as you about these things…over a cup of espresso we’d likely agree on a lot of things like this.

  17. Mary Clark

    Did I mentioned… I love this website?
    Viva La Coffee

  18. The coffee business is tough. There are so many elements that go into it. Some expected, a lot not expected. We are a year old now and I would have to say that we went to all the conferences, read all the books, worked in the industry..I would say about 25% applies to actually running a successful business.
    Advertising…we have spent a lot on all forms of advertising and it is not what makes or breaks a business. It is an integral part but print advertising has a very low ROI, in my opinion. Networking and face to face meetings has been more successful in our opinion. Chamber meetings, getting out and volunteering in the community, doing local festivals. But this is a tough thing as well as there are only so many hours in the day. Word of mouth is great, but you really need to be able to stick in it for the long haul to get enough customers that way. A combination of all if them is essential, but still not a guarantee, so it is not fair to say, “well if they woudl have just advertised.” I can’t tell you how many people have told us that they live around the corner and didn’t know we were here. We have done banners, billboards, magazine ads, newspaper ads, savvy shopper coupons…the list goes on.
    I can’t imagine how hard it would be to make the decision to close. I respect and admire everyone that has taken on the task of owning their own shop and also those who have done it and moved on. Who doesn’t dream of having their own place? Who doesn’t do it with the idea of becoming a type of Cheers place where you do know everyone?
    I can’t look into a crystal ball and know if we will succeed, but I can tell you that we will fight tooth and nail to defeat the odds as I am sure every one of the businesses that has had to close this year did before they came to their decision.
    My point is, there is no quick fix and finger pointing is not productive. Every business, every area, every customer is different. A business won’t miraculously succeed based on advertising. You have to walk in a business owners shoes for a long time to really understand every aspect of their business and I guarantee you they roll with some big waves each and every day.
    God Bless all of you for your passion, but those of us in this amazing coffee community need to stick together and not judge eachother.

  19. Great message Tara. I think that the way we measure success changes from person to person, but to say I followed my dream even for a minute is defined as success in my book. I look forward to meet all the people that are still thinking about opening new shops, how different will be now that we have a place were industry colleagues can offer help and advise. This is great. THX!

  20. Mary Clark

    INZA I miss you so much!

  21. Caroline Adams

    I am extremely sorry that Anna Bean’s had to close, this was a beautiful place with wonderful owners and employees and excellent coffee,gelato, etc., and I think it is heartbreaking that places like this cannot stay afloat all because of the giants like Starbucks who have taken over this country, and are just so impersonal compared to a sweet, friendly, family run place like Anna Beans.
    I wish there was some simple way to stem the tide of the chains…but alas, there are no easy answers on this…

    I salute all small business owners in this tough economy, though, those who are able to stay afloat and those who are not…it takes incredible courage and tenacity to make things work these days, and I admire all those who are willing to put themselves out there and take the risk that creating a business always entails. To the owners of Anna Beans, you gave it a mighty effort, and the world is a better place for Anna beans having been around, even if short-lived ! Best wishes to you on your next venture… so sorry this dream did not work out as you might have hoped…wish that it had…