From The Daniel Island News
Letters to the Editor - February 14, 2013
Feb 13, 2013 - 9:40:13 AM
Thoughts on the
closing of fired urth
The couple who ran the suddenly-closed Fired Urth coffee shop left on their door a reprimand for the people of Daniel Island. Basically, they said that small businesses offering a quality product would not survive long on the island, because local residents just won't support them. There might be some truth to that, but small business failure results from a convergence of circumstances.
I was a frequent customer of Fired Urth. They had fantastic food and some of their drinks were second to none. A place like Fired Urth, which probably saw an average transaction amount of $6, will only thrive if they get a critical mass of customers, or if their average ticket per customer and net profit was higher. And Daniel Island seems like the absolute ideal location for a homegrown coffee shop to thrive - thousands of families, mostly affluent enough to afford good coffee and food at prices similar to Starbucks.
But here is the rub - small business owners will sometimes deliver a type of service or product what they want or value more than what the buying public generally wants. And, in the name of taking pride in or enjoying what you do, that is a compromise many small business owners are willing to make. Delivering THEIR style of service, hospitality or product is what brings them joy. But it doesn't always cross perfectly with what enough customers want.
For example, at Fired Urth, the making of each and every cup of coffee involved a time-consuming process of grinding the beans and hand-pouring the hot water over individual filters to drip into separate mugs. If by chance you arrived, and four or five people were in front of you, you could be waiting 15 minutes or more for your coffee - not ideal if you're on your way to work. There was no quick option for coffee. And they made the peculiar choice of closing the shop on Mondays. I'd bet Monday mornings could have been the best hours for sales, as Daniel Islanders swung by to get a fresh cup of coffee to start their work week. The style of furniture in the shop was not conducive for "sitting a spell," and they knew it, but never got around to changing it. While this might not seem like a big deal to many, their choice of background music some days was a Christian music radio station. Again, a choice that might have brought them joy, but one that might not be congruent with what most people want to experience in a business open to the public.
That all being said, local residents should do their very best to patronize independent, local businesses - especially over the big-box guys. We all want to see a thriving main street, rather than for-lease signs. You can read all about the virtues of supporting local, independent businesses at www.independentwestand.org - and they are many.
I really enjoyed patronizing Fired Urth and wish they had been successful. As more small businesses give it a go on Daniel Island, I encourage fellow residents to patronize them, but also give their two cents about what they are doing well - and what they are not. Likewise, small business owners should listen to their customers - and better yet, actively solicit their suggestions. If you're happy with the service or product, review them on sites like Yelp! or TripAdvisor. It's not fair to just place blame on the entire community for your business failure, but we all must realize that nurturing a thriving Main Street takes authentic interaction between customers and proprietors.
Garden Club says thank you
Thank you for the great coverage of the Daniel Island Garden Club members working on the “Bee Dance” pavers in the last edition of the Daniel Island News. The Osprey Trail is a wooded walking trail in front of the Daniel Island School with six themed gardens created by the Daniel Island Garden Club. It is used by the school for educational purposes but also is available to the public to enjoy a beautiful walk. The Daniel Island Garden Club offers a variety of opportunities to learn about low country gardening and is always open to new members.
Thanks again for the wonderful picture and article highlighting one of our activities.
Daniel Island Garden Club
Become a member of the Daniel Island Neighborhood Association
We are known as Charleston’s Island Town, a short distance from a vibrant downtown Charleston yet a quiet refuge from the hustle and bustle.
It is in the best interest of all residents to strive to retain and build on the quality of life that has been created here.
The Daniel Island Neighborhood Association (DINA) is a an organization that seeks to address residents concerns and issues and keep us informed about current and future plans for the island that affect us all.
Meetings are held 6 times a year on the first Tuesday in January, March, May, August, October and November at Holy Cross Church - 2997 Seven Farms Drive.
They start promptly at 7pm and are usually one hour with time at the end to meet with neighbors old and new.
Please mark your calendars for the year and join us at our next meeting on March 5th to learn what is happening on the island and to have a voice in what will happen.
All residents, both owners and renters are welcome to join.
Visit DINA’s informative website at –dineighborhoodassociation.org.
DINA Membership Committee
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