A look into the journey of Indaba Coffee, an early joe partner who saw the value of putting people over profits, and using the power of a network to create a larger customer base.

 

Highlights:

  • Mobile orders 9x higher than what they saw pre-COVID
  • $15k monthly incremental revenue
  • Over 300 new customers acquired through the network

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Meet Indaba Coffee 

There are a few shops on the joe network who have been with us since the beginning and Indaba Coffee is one of the original ones. Based in Spokane, WA Indaba now has 5 dine-in cafes, they are an award-winning roasting company, and have become a staple of the Spokane community. But back in 2018 when we originally met, both Indaba and joe were much smaller.

We sat down with Bobby Enslow, owner and co-founder of Indaba Coffee to learn about his journey to coffee and his unique perspective as a longtime joe partner. In this conversation, we dive into this shop owner's path to opening his coffee shops, shared value of people over profit, and how the power of a network has boosted their customer base. 

 

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Love people. Love coffee.

Bobby's journey to opening his first shop was inspired by service. It began abroad during a 6 month pilgrimage to South Africa that gave him a passion for serving marginalized communities. Coming home from his mission work he vowed to make a change, starting in his own backyard. 

The neighborhood of Spokane, WA where Bobby grew up didn't have the greatest reputation and received a lot of negative attention. While many shuddered at the idea of opening a business in this stretch of town, Bobby saw it as an opportunity to invest in the community that invested in him. Coffee, he decided, was the tool.

"[Indaba] came from the desire to create a business that would do good, not because I was a super coffee nerd. That came after the fact", Bobby shared.

So in 2009, Bobby Enslow opened Indaba Coffee. Inspired by the South African Zulu word meaning "a gathering of leaders". He explained that he saw "specialty coffee [as] a way to elevate the community and bring people to the neighborhood".

In the first few years he faced the challenge of creating a space that balances the unique experience specialty coffee is known for, and also one that was approachable for the every day folks. Through it all, the guidepost for him, was the coffee shop's motto "Love people. Love coffee" 

Since opening the first cafe, Bobby has developed 5 unique spaces that balance both comfort and craft. The menu offers classic espresso drinks as well as signature beverages crafted with house-made syrups. Their two most famous latte flavors include an indulgent butterscotch or a lemon-vanilla.  They focus on sourcing from other local businesses, including Spokane bakeries and a local chai founded by a former Indaba barista. The friendly atmospheres, co-working space, and a delicious food menu invite customers of all walks of life to visit Indaba.

Each cafe offers the "1-2 punch of heart for the community and passion for quality coffee", Bobby concluded.

 

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Joining joe

Indaba Coffee, with only one location at the time, joined joe Winter of 2018. Bobby was approached by Brenden, co-founder of joe, and saw a mobile ordering option as means to reaching a demographic of coffee drinkers his cafe wasn't set up to meet: commuters. With joe, customers could quickly pop in, grab their morning brew and dash. But beyond the logical business model, Bobby saw a passion for small business and similar values that he looked to implement in every area of his business.

"There was a desire to want to help support locally owned coffee. That's what attracted me most to [joe]", Bobby shared.

So he signed up! Initially, orders through joe were simply an added revenue source for the business that attracted the grab-and-go consumer. Until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

In March of 2020 when Washington stay-at-home orders went into effect, many cafes scrambled to find ways to safely serve and keep their staff healthy. "We were fortunate to be on the network and set up before COVID", Bobby said.

The city of Spokane took the extra step to implement 10 minute parking zones in front of every restaurant and cafe. To get the word out, they marketed heavily with signage and across social media, creating promotional videos demonstrating curbside pick up.  Contact-free ordering with joe, paired with curbside service meant Indaba could keep their doors open, and their joe orders skyrocketed! 

 

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Building a new customer base

Bobby was an early adopter of mobile ordering. "I liked the values of [joe] and networking, supporting indie coffee shops, and community over competition" Bobby shared. Now, his understanding and belief in the power of the indie coffee network is paying off.

COVID-19 was a catalyst for mobile ordering, becoming a lifeline for may indie coffee shops and the safest way customers could support their local economy. As more shops in the Spokane area joined, more customers visited Indaba too.

Indaba has more than 2,000 unique joe users who order regularly at their cafes, and 15% of those users were brought to Indaba from other shops on the network.

In June when safety measures began allowing for more in-person service, mobile orders at Indaba dropped, but have since remained at a level still 9x higher than what they saw pre-COVID.  With a $10+ average ticket, Indaba generates more than $15k of incremental revenue per month through joe.

Reflecting on the impacts of COVID on his cafes, Bobby shared that "it has been cool to see, that more and more people are visiting. It has really reinforced a sense of community". 

 

 

If you're interested in joining the joe network to safely serve your coffee community  email us at success@joe.coffee. We can have you accepting contact-free mobile orders in as little as 24 hours.

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