The business creating an attraction point in Šančiai offers a teaspoon of art in a coffee cup
When asked if he was not afraid to go into a competitive coffee business, the founder of the “Coffee24” Tadas Barauskas, working in Kaunas, smiles and says that after a decade spent in logistics, the word “competition” takes on a completely different meaning and does not bother that much: “The competition in the coffee market is strong, but in terms of the service and the product, I still see plenty of space to grow and attract customers who value such qualities. After all, “Coffee24” is much more than just coffee – we represent brands of exclusive tea (Bistro Tea) and eco cocoa (Becks) in Lithuania, and these products were loved by both HoReCa sector and households”.
T. Barauskas admits that the turn to the trading business was quite spontaneous as he has never been a real coffee expert, only a man who likes good coffee, however, a buddy convinced him to start this business. But that was the end of spontaneity: a further business creation was accurate, and every single detail was thought out. The business experience gained by T. Barauskas was really helpful: “After the time spent in logistics, I worked as a sales expert for several years and helped both young and big companies to manage their internal sales and customer service processes. This experience has been very useful in developing “Coffee24”. I know how important discipline is and how important it is to follow it carefully. Customers appreciate this because they do not need to do the work of the supplier. That’s why today, even when serving large corporate networks where thousands of cups of our drinks are consumed, we avoid mistakes due to well-tuned and refined service processes.”
Although the name of “Coffee24” has a word “coffee” in it, the company’s activities also include wholesale and retail sales of tea, cocoa, coffee supply for businesses and coffee machine sales. There is also a coffee machine repair service that is used not only by Kaunas residents but also by customers from all over Lithuania.
Coffee trees in coffee bags
The fact that there are no unimportant details in the business and the creativity together with original approach rewards itself was proven by an impressive award that the packaging of the specialty coffee brand THE MOOD by “Coffee24” received last year. The packaging created by the designer Salvita Design (author of the design) and Greta Duobienė (illustrator and, by the way, Kaunas resident) won gold in the largest design award competition in the world “A’Design Award & Competition”. In the category of prepared food packaging in NAPA Baltic awards, the packaging won silver.
T. Barauskas has no doubt that for young business such awards are very important: “This is a message showing that we have the ambition to do more than others expect from us, and we give the customer added value – not only coffee but also history and high-quality content”.
By the way, the businessmen do not throw away used packaging: customers get a 10% discount if they return the package when they are buying coffee, and the Kaunas residents are happy to do so. The “Coffee24” team is planting coffee trees in returned packages and invites customers to use them for growing spices on the windowsill: the waterproof packaging works perfectly as a pot because of its ideal shape.
Attraction point in Šančiai
Currently, the “Coffee24” team consists of five people. The main office and the shop are located in Šančiai, Juozapavičiaus avenue.
The founder of the company claims that the choice to establish a business in Kaunas was a very conscious one: “The city infrastructure is perfect for us, it has a convenient transportation system. Even looking to the future, it is a geographically convenient place to work with customers. Also, here we have proactive higher education institutions which are searching for ways to integrate students into business and offer them internships.”
When opening their own shop in Šančiai, the businessmen realized that they will not get many customers from the street and that they will have to put the effort in attracting them: “We need to offer a very clear value so that the customers would arrive here purposely or make a stop when passing by. On the other hand, strategically, Juozapavičius avenue is a great place, as many of the townspeople and suburban residents are passing by on their way to work and back. More and more local residents discover us and are happy to have us in the neighborhood.”
A shop and tasting area “Coffee24” is not a café, but every visitor can taste coffee, tea, and cocoa for free, and also get interesting and useful information.
“We are trying to create a local attraction point by organizing tastings and education events where we also invite experts from abroad. In addition, we immediately discovered a synergy with other small local businesses. We have a particularly close friendship with a well-known Salon “Cozy Home” in Kaunas. They, like us, sell a high-quality product and develop a close relationship with the customer. Thus, in Šančiai, we got great support from both the “Cozy Home” team and their clients. Our partnership gets stronger through joint events and recommendations,” says the head of the company.
Currently, the “Coffee24” team focuses on sales and dissemination of information about existing products and services. In the next few years, the company is planning to expand the team and open two more shops in Vilnius and Kaunas.