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.”