Business Lessons from a Master

Where Park Place meets Flatbush, looking out through the front window.

Where Park Place meets Flatbush, looking out through the front window.

WHATEVER WE MAY THINK OF STARBUCKS COFFEE, THEIR PRICES OR UBIQUITY, we can all take a lesson from the new Starbucks location on Park Place at Flatbush/Seventh Avenue, where the oversized and under-busy 5 Guys burger place recently failed. The premises reportedly rents for $20,000 a month. Can even Starbucks bring in enough to do business there profitably? Time will tell, of course, but certainly the managers are trying to make a go of it.

Starbucks Chalkboard MessageLet’s infer some items for our checklist: Yes, Starbucks put out the welcome sign, literally, in chalkboard vernacular.

Yes, the Seventh Avenue Q/B subway stop is right there, and Starbucks has put in the pedestrian equivalent of a drive-by window: the long bar-height shallow counter right in front for commuters and other muffineers. There is enough open floor space for a long line at 8:40am, even allowing for a four-wheeler or two en route to Eladia’s Kids, near the 2/3 station.

Starbucks stroller parkingYes, the setup is neighborhood-savvy. Although the ramp at the entrance is wheelchair-friendly, the greater traffic is sure to come from the stroller-moms and -dads. Traffic control is smart: there’s stroller parking for the stay-awhile or coffee-date set.

The community bulletin board is right by the entrance, with a small mural in the style of the Starbucks-on-Seventh location (we hear the artist there is one of the partners).Starbucks changing table

There are more chalkboards in the back, toddler height, near the low table and small chairs, that signal little guys are welcome and allowed to roam free (relatively). There’s a play shelf with crayons and other amusements.

The half-dozen deep leather chairs welcome long-term loungers: those who want to read the Times thoroughly, say, or polish off the review copy of a new book. Easy-to-pull-up stools in a skateboard aesthetic allow kibitzers to interrupt them, but if the kibitizers really want to engage long enough to make their point, there are a few leather-cushioned stools around as well.

2013-04-29 11.21.54And blogger heaven: wi-fi and a huge, two-sided laptop-friendly work table. While the hard metal chairs might discourage you from settling in to finish your thesis here, they are a good sit for long enough to post a blog entry or handle email away from the kids.

We didn’t forget to check for the critical amenity! Yes, it’s here, the changing station in the bathroom. At this juncture of Park Slope/Prospect Heights, the diaper table really says, “Welcome, families.” Starbucks shows it knows.

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