Community, coffee and carrying on: A chat with Little Lane Coffee Co.

A fair few of us have sat daydreaming over our “what if” business ideas at our office desk while we look out the window wondering when it’s socially acceptable to nip off for another tea break. Not everybody takes the plunge and makes their “what if” scenario a reality. Jennifer and Graham did. 

Originally from Limerick, Jennifer was working in retail banking and investments. Her Dublin-born co-founder, Graham was working with large FMCG companies...sounds fancy. Using an idea born during Jennifer’s university days, the two decided to open up a coffee shop with a difference. 

They wanted to focus on one thing and be the absolute best at it. Now their shop Little Lane Coffee Co. has been open for over 2 years boasting multi roasts, showcasing local Irish products from fellow small business owners and keeping the community together. 

We decided to sit down for a little chat with the two caffeine connoisseurs to pick their brains on all things business, babyccino’s and beyond. Here’s how it went. 

What do you love about what you do? 

“Of course, coffee is a vital part of what we do, and we spend a lot of time ensuring the coffee is the best it possibly can be, but it also is about the sense of community around us, the human interactions, making people feel welcome and bringing a little sunshine into their day. For us, we could see 200+ people a day, but for some of those people, we take an extra few seconds to ask "how’s it going." You never know when you may be the only person they’ve spoken to that day, week, or month. It's so gratifying to see someone enjoy what we have created. It makes all the hardships we went through to get here worth it.” 

How have you kept going throughout the lockdowns?   

“This has been so tough for us and for so many businesses around us. It’s been like erasing the first 18 months of our business and completely restarting from scratch again, only this time you had a week or so to develop it. We’ve completely reworked, redesigned and redeveloped our entire business literally overnight. We’re determined not to let our business fail. We moved to a fully takeaway only model, adapted to COVID guidelines and developed a stronger and more engaging online presence through social media and our online store.”

Tell us about your customers and the types of relationships you have with them 

“Our Customer base comes from all walks of life. It's getting to know the same friendly smiling faces that greet us each morning. We’ve met quite a few characters that brighten up our day. In one incidence, we have a lovely couple who’s been with us since day one. The lady was heavily pregnant when they first came into our shop, and now their little girl marches into the shop most weekends for a babyccino.”

How has SumUp helped your life as a small business owner?

“Most other companies have tariffs when it comes to fees. With SumUp we can grow without restrictions thanks to the flat fee. Payouts have always been reliable and on time and most people complement the Air Card Reader on how clean, tidy, small and modern it is. Customers also love all the forms of payment that can be used with it.”  

What advice would you give to someone starting a business?

“Don't be afraid to take a risk 

Adapt with the times and technology 

Understand your community 

Keep a close eye on emerging trends 

There is always a way through, you just have to find it.”

Looking to make business a little simpler? Have a gander at our card readers and business tools.

Anna Marie Allgaier