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Hard Bean Coffee Eyes Spot in Odenton

Pennsylvania-based company is looking for someone to own and operate a shop in the Academy Junction shopping center.

A Pennsylvania-based company is seeking someone to own and operate a new coffee shop near the intersection of Annapolis Road and Piney Orchard Parkway. 

Hard Bean Coffee of Reading, PA said it is ready to help install a new store in a 2,100-square-foot end unit at the Academy Junction shopping center, establishing one of the few independent coffee shops in the area.

“I think it’s a great location,” said Hard Bean CEO Scott Bortz. “It would really enhance that whole center and would be a great place for people to get together.”

Hard Bean does not sell franchises, but offers assistance in setting up the business, helping in everything from installing equipment and payment systems to acquiring furniture. Partnering with Hard Bean costs less than $100,000, Bortz said, which is less than the startup costs for a typical franchise business.

The owner would not be required to use the Hard Bean name and logo, but could do so by joining a buying co-op for about $100 a month, Bortz said. Membership in the co-op would allow the store’s customer’s to buy coffee online from the Hard Bean website, with the shop getting a 20 percent cut of those sales.  

The business would remain independently owned and operated.

Hard Bean has helped install five other shops in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Missouri and Georgia.

Currently, Odenton’s only independent coffee shop is the Whistle Stop near the MARC station, which serves primarily rail commuters.

West Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce President Claire Louder, whose office is right down from the proposed shop, said it would be a welcome addition to town, because there are few local spots for short, informal meetings.

“The fact is, Odenton needs a coffee shop,” she said. “Everyone knows we need it.”

The new shop would offer enough space to serve as a community gathering place, and possibly allow for live music or video gaming. Hard Bean currently has a partnership with Mad Brothers Gaming, which offers widescreen TV's and major game consoles.

Bortz said he has already spoken with landlord AJ Properties about general terms for a lease. He also said that he would consider investing in the business himself under the right circumstances.

“I like doing this,” he said. “It’s a business, but not really a nickel or dime business. I just try to help people.”

Raif10 September 21, 2011 at 10:59 AM
I would LOVE more coffee. Carabou is good and we stop there routinely, but only if we're headed south. There's nothing in the other direction. This would be great!
Robert September 22, 2011 at 02:37 PM
I hope Hard Bean Coffee realizes that another coffee shop was in that same strip mall not too long ago and it went out of business pretty quickly. I wish them luck.
Amy Patrick September 22, 2011 at 06:50 PM
As much as I would love to have a coffee shop that close, that parking lot is a bit of a nightmare. Coffee joints usually have lots of in and out cars and it seems too small and difficult to navigate even for the existing businesses.
Amy September 22, 2011 at 06:54 PM
I agree with everyone. A coffee shop is needed, but the location is not the best one. It would congest 170 even more in the mornings than it already is.
Ryan September 22, 2011 at 07:39 PM
Yeah...that location is horrible to get in/out of. Why doesn't the county get rid of the train tracks there and expand that little shopping center? I have never seen those tracks used in fifteen years. Having one in the Piney Orchard shopping center would be nice!

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